N1.32b COVID-19 Palliatives Payment to management and staff was necessary to cushion the effect of the pandemic - NDDC Staff Union

...Appeals to Presidency to restrain security agencies from alleged constant harrassment of staff

The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) staff union, under the Joint Collective Forum of the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE) says the COVID-19 palliative payment to members of staff of the commission was in line with the recommendations of both government and labour organizations across the world to cushion the effect of the pandemic. 
The union also said the palliatives payment that got to NDDC staff members was part of the commission's economic stimulus plans and workplace welfare measures to keep the workforce well motivated.

The Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the commission had in July come under fire after it disclosed that it spent N1.32billion to take care of itself and staff at the height of the Corona virus pandemic in April.

But the AUPCTRE in a statement jointly signed by the Chairmen of the Senior Staff Union Comrade Ronnson William and Junior Staff Union, Comrade Sampson Agbone said the NDDC Act gave the board power to provide such palliatives when necessary for the efficient performance of the functions of the Commission.

They said: "The council on global unions representing more than 200 million workers worldwide, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), UN global union and its partners held a meeting on the 13th of March, 2020 to put in place an Urgent Economic Stimulus and workplace Measures required in the face of Covid-19 pandemic. The global bodies called for urgent action by governments and employers to promptly respond to the COVID-19 crisis. In addition to this, Section 8(f) of the NDDC Act gives the board power to provide such things necessary for the efficient performance of the functions of the Commission”. 

The group also said the vibes being generated by the National Assembly probe of the NDDC does not paint the true picture of the activities of the commission and have also done a great deal of damage to it's public.

AUPTRE also expressed worry that the allowances of staff members and other benefits, including trainings were being called to question. 

They said: "The situation of the NDDC with respect to allowances and benefits, is no different from what obtains in other peer organizations within the country and in other climes. On the issue of the ILO training, the Public Service Rule, Labour Law and the Board Approved Staff terms and conditions of service of the NDDC encourages training and re-training of workers. Given the nature of such International training, it is not surprising that payments were made in the hope that COVID-19 will not persist for too long. It is therefore most uncharitable to blackmail the Commission and the staff on account of duly approved allowances and wages”.

The group added that while it is against alleged malfeasance by both the IMC and staff of the commission, it will not support the undue harrassment by security agencies of staff members who are carrying out their legitimate duties.

"We therefore crave the indulgence of the presidency to restrain the security agencies from constant harrassment of the staff of the commission and call on the EIMC to attend to all outstanding staff matters," they said.

News Credit: City News