Workers of Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, Monday staged a protest over alleged non-payment of 13 months salary arrears owed them by the administration of Senator Bala Mohammed – the present FCT Minister. They also protested over the purported stagnation in the FCTA with some staff alleging that they have stayed on one salary grade for over 10 years without promotion.
The protesters, in their hundreds barricaded the main gate popularly known as ‘Minister’s Gate’, carrying placards and chanting, “Bala Must Go”, and “Pay Us Our Salaries”.
It was reported that the Minister did not come out to address the protesting staff for fear of being embarrassed but a press statement by his media aide, Nosike Ogbuenyi, said the workers and Mr. Mohammed have reached an agreement and it is expected that the workers will call off their warning protest today (Tuesday).
See Press Release below:
The FCT Minister, Bala Mohammed, on Monday evening met with leaders of the workers association under the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) during which an agreement was reached on most areas of conflict notably implementation of workers promotion, staff housing scheme, biometric screening, payment of hazard allowance, and provision of buses for staff transportation.
With the breakthrough, the leaders are scheduled to report back to their members on Tuesday 10th December after which they are expected to call off the warning protest.
The Minister’s meeting with the workers which lasted for about two hours took place at the Banquet hall of the Minister’s official residence at Life Camp.
The labour leaders came out from the meeting beaming with smiles and admitting that the Minister meant well for FCT workers and that the only snag before was communication gap.
The Minister assured the workers that their pending promotion has already been scheduled to be effected between this month (December) and January after the conclusion of the ongoing biometric screening to ascertain true workers. He also approved more buses for staff transportation, prompt payment of outstanding hazard allowances among other goodies. He however declined the workers demand for payment of 13th month salary this year due to dwindling productivity and poor funding.
From the foregoing, it is evident that FCT is not rotten and that there is certainly no love lost between the amiable Minister and the FCTA workforce.
Earlier on Monday, FCT Minister, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed had assured that the issues raised would be tackled as he revealed that the Administration has a staff strength of over 28,000 personnel and pays about N3.6 billion monthly as staff wages and salaries.
The Minister made this revelation on Monday in his office, as some staff of the Administration staged a peaceful rally over some welfare issues. The Minister remarked that it was this high number of staff and huge monthly wage bill that informed the decision of the FCT Administration to embark on biometric exercise to ascertain that these monies are not being paid to ghost workers.
The Minister added that there is no way any reasonable Administration would embark on promotion exercise without first verifying the actual number of its workforce and ensuring that Manpower budget, vacancies, establishment and budget are provided to cater for the additional costs envisaged.
He emphasized that the FCT Administration under his supervision has never delayed staff salary as wages and salaries are always paid on or before the 25th of every month and urged the staff to instead commend him for such patriotic gesture.
Monday, December 9, 2013.