By Gladys Nweke
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has settled the embattled 2008 Disengaged Workers that the organization was not prepared to go into further discussion over unsettled benefits, stressing that negotiations ended with the payment of ₦753,731,001.24
The issues raised about pension, gratuity and repatriation have been addressed and final figures for payment to 2008 disengaged employees as agreed to the tune of ₦753.7m for the final list of 517, the managing director, Hadiza Bala Usman said, in a statement made available to our reporter by the assistant general manager, Corporate & Strategic Communications, Mr. I.S. Nasiru.
The NPA boss debunked allegations of deliberate refusal to pay miscellaneous benefits in full to the over 500 aggrieved ex-workers, and frowned at media reports which attempted to label the authority’s position as outright insensitivity.
He said; “Therefore, management wishes to state categorically and unequivocally that the information is capable of derailing the company’s responsibilities to deliver corporate service to its large public, the statement indicated, noting that the May, 2008 rationalization was carried out based on the provision of the Public Service Reform guidelines.
“However, the process of concluding this exercise led to delay in the implementation of the monetization policy of the Federal Government. Therefore, to comply with the preconditions, implementation of the policy commenced 1stJuly, 2008 after the May 2008 rationalization exercise.
Agitation from the two house unions for payment of arrears on monetization based on the January approval date, resulted in the agreement to pay arrears of three months to all existing employees from April to June, 2008 hence the two months arrears which was paid to them after their exit.
She indicated further, In compliance with the directives of the Federal Government in the public service guidelines, those affected by the rationalization exercise were not entitled to the monetization and enhanced staff allowances as it was a precondition before implementation of the scheme thus the two months of monetization arrears paid to them was regarded as an error made and accepted in good faith.
” Entitlement paid to them are as listed below: *Three (3) months’ salary in lieu based on their salaries at the time of disengagement; *Gratuity calculated in line with their salary at the date of exit, May 31st, 2008; * 10% pension & gratuity as compensation due to reorganization was paid to them as provided for in the Pension Act (Decree 102 of 1979); *Pension Contribution remittance to their RSA; * Accrued pension right remitted to their PFA/RSA using the Alexander Forbes actuarial valuation as at 31st May, 2008. The approved template by the Bureau of Public Service Reform and Federal Ministry of Transport was used for their payment; *Repatriation allowance was paid to them based on the components of the template from the Bureau of Public Service Reform.
”Given the foregoing, it is clear that their entitlements were fully paid based on the policy guidelines of the Federal Government Reforms programme. Further agitation by this group with intervention and negotiations from the in house Senior Staff Association led Management of Nigerian Ports Authority to consider some palliative measures without recourse to the issues that were earlier addressed (Pension, Gratuity and Repatriation) do not arise or is not of place.
”To finally address the matter and put it to rest, a 200% of one-year total emolument amounting to ₦770,386,586.22 for the 530 earlier affected by the exercise was agreed with the group.”