Pensioners sue union over N200m withheld funds, others

0
79

The Federal Civil Service Pensioners have gone to court to demand the direct release of allocations from the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate like other affiliated organisations.

The organisation said the decision was taken because it had been short-changed by the Nigeria Union of Pensioners with over N200 million.

The FCSP, therefore, demanded that it should have direct access to the money like other unions affiliated with the NUP.

The national chairman of the FCSP, Sunday Omezi, said these during its sectorial National Executive Council meeting held in Abuja on Thursday evening.

But the General Secretary of the NUP, Arthur Zal, said the payment of allocations and other entitlements to the FCSP was stopped because Omezi’s tenure had elapsed.

While describing the NEC meeting held by the FCSP leadership as illegal, Zal explained that the NUP’s action in stopping allocations and other entitlements was due to the expiration of the tenure of FCSP leadership.

Omezi said the NUP reneged on the Memorandum of Understanding it had with the FCSP to pay all outstanding allocations and other entitlements.

According to him, all efforts made by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment and the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress for the NUP to release the withheld allocations and entitlements yielded no positive results.

He said the NUP had been short-changing the FCSP for the past four years, and had finally stopped allocations to the union in April 2022.

Omezi said, “We are having issues with the NUP because they are owing us. The Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment had intervened and the NUP refused to oblige to the Memorandum of Understanding we signed at the instance of the Ministry of Labour on the release of our money. And because of this, we didn’t have any other alternative than to approach the court.

“Rule 4 of our constitution says that we should collect our money from the source like other affiliated bodies under the NUP. By source, I mean collecting our money directly from the PTAD.

“It is only the Federal Civil Service Pensioners Branch that the NUP collects its money from source on its behalf. This is wrong and contrary to our constitution. And we are saying the NUP should leave us to collect our money directly from source. But the NUP is fighting against that, saying Labour Act does not allow that. If Labour Act does not allow that, then other affiliated bodies too should not be collecting their money from the source. We are already in court to seek redress over the issue.

“We have approached PTAD on the issue, we have written letters and given our account number requesting that we should be treated like other affiliated bodies. But PTAD has refused, saying that is what they met on the ground.

“The Rule 4 of our constitution says that we should collect our money directly from PTAD and give to the NUP. Then the NUP will now give us 55 per cent of the amount, give the Nigerian Labour Congress 10 per cent and they will take 35 per cent. That is what our constitution says.

“The NUP has been shortchanging us for the past four years. And they stopped our allocation finally in April, this year.”

Delivering his keynote address, Omezi alleged that the NUP was deliberately carrying out its illegal actions against his union with a view to scuttling the entire affairs of the union.

Reacting, Zal said, “The truth is that the meeting was illegal, in the sense that the tenure of the executive leadership of the union led by Comrade Sunday Omezi expired since July 18. But he quickly ran to court and obtained injunction to avoid the election.

“The court granted injunction that the status quo should remain and since then, we have not taken any action contrary to the court injunction. So we wonder why somebody who took us to court can go ahead and call for a NEC meeting.

“When you are supposed to give chance for fresh election and you are sitting tight, who will release money for you? Then the person coming, what will you tell the person? So, nobody has stopped what is due to them. So as soon as new people are on board, they will take control of the money. So, my action for not releasing money to his leadership is not illegal.”

Source link