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Thursday, Oct 6, 2022
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Aggrieved workers drag Pension Commission to court over denial of salaries, unlawful labour practices

Aggrieved workers of the National Pension Commission (PenCOM) have dragged the Commission and its chairman before the National Industrial Court, (NIC) in Abuja over alleged denial of salaries and unlawful labour practice.

They instituted the court action through human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Femi Falana.

The aggrieved employees, numbering 20, who filed the suit on behalf of themselves and others employed by the Commission in March 2017, are challenging the commission and its chairman before the court on the grounds of unlawful restraint from performing their statutory functions after engagement and refusal to be paid salaries and other entitlements.

The claimants, who were said to have been employed since March 2017, resumed duties at the commission but were later staved off from performing their statutory duty after the resumption.

In their originating summons, they are seeking the Court order directing the Commission to pay them forthwith their salaries, arrears, and allowances from the date of their employment till when the judgment of the Court is complied with by the Commission and the same to be calculated using the Commission’s Salary Structure for its employees.

The claimants also sought a declaration that “having regard to the provisions of Section 28 and 29 of the Pension Reform Act 2014, Regulations 040102 and 130105 of the Public Service Rules, the failure of the Commission to pay them their salaries, arrears, allowances and promotion from the date of their employment till date is an unfair labour practice, discriminatory, ultra vires and in violation of the provisions of the PENCOM Act and the Public Service Rules.”

They also seek a mandatory order “directing the Commission to pay them forthwith their salaries, arrears, allowances from the date of their employment till when the judgment of the Court is complied with by the Commission and the same should be calculated using the Commission’s Salary Structure for its employees.”

Also sought is “an order of injunction directing the Commission to immediately promote them to their rightful position in the Commission based on their employment with the Commission.

“Another order restraining the Commission from further harassing, intimidating, threatening the employment of the Claimants or restraining the Claimants from performing their statutory function in the Commission as Staff of the Commission.”

In the suit marked, NIC/ABJ/188/2022, Counsel to the claimants, Samuel Ogala, of Falana & Falana’s Chambers, formulated three legal questions for determination by the court, as to whether, “having regard to the provisions of Section 28 and 29 of the Pension Reform Act 2014 the Claimants by virtue of their Offer letters and acceptance are public servants and employees of the Commission.

“Regard to the provisions of Section 28 and 29 of the Pension Reform Act 2014, Regulations 040102 and 130105 of the Public Service Rules, the Claimants being staff of the Commission are entitled to be paid their salaries, arrears, allowances and receive their promotion in the Commission in accordance to what Is applicable to other officers of equivalent rank in the Commission.

“Regard to the provisions of SECTION 28 and 29 of the PENSION REFORM ACT 2014, Regulations 040102 and 130105 of the Public Service Rules, the failure of the Commission to pay the Claimants their salaries, arrears, allowances and promotion from the date of their employment till date is an unfair labor practice, discriminatory, ultra vires and in violation of the provisions of the Pension Reform Act 2014 and the Public Service Rules.”

The Pension Commission and its Chairman are the 1st and 2nd defendants, respectfully, in the suit.

Meanwhile, the suit has been fixed for October 13 for mention.

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