by James Black Uyi
Today, nearly all public sector workers are heavily short changed by the government, their employer. The fraud by government runs into billions and includes the Federal Government and state governments run by both PDP and APC. Non payment of salaries is probably the most culpable aspect of this open and brazen theft of workers financial entitlements.
This crime comes in many forms. Promotion arrears may not paid to duly promoted workers. Sometimes, these promotion arrears run into entitlements of up to two or three years. The worrisome part of this short changing of workers is that it occurs again and again during the periods of service of many workers. This means that, a civil servant is robbed and re-robbed over time while in public service. At the time of retirement, a civil servant would have been deprived and defrauded of so much money to the extent that she or he is financially emasculated to the point of utter deprivation.
All public sector workers must as a matter of urgency and justice stand up against this behemoth called state fraud. How can workers be promoted by the state government only for them to be denied the monetary increments due them from the date of “notional” promotion? Their financial entitlements already in arrears may never be paid. These are usually promotions in retrospect. It seems that it is now a deliberate government policy to delay promotions so that financial compensations for workers can be cleverly dodged!
Promotions are incentives to keep workers in the monotony of the workplace. But what workers now get in the guise of promotion becomes heavily hollow. They are left with only the carcass of their promotions. The flesh which is financial has been stolen by the same government that hypocritically offered them their promotions.
As an example, most Edo State civil servants are promoted in retrospect. This is to say that a worker could be promoted from level 10 to 12 in 2013 while the effectual date for the payment for the new level starts in 2015. The promoted worker does not receive her/his financial benefit for two good years!
Imagine the loss of such finances for over two years by a single worker. Take this imagination far and wide to include so many other promoted workers. You can probably understand the huge amount of money that is stolen from workers with hollow promotions taking place each year.
This disgusting scenario is fast becoming a recurring and constant decimal in the career progression of public sector workers. This situation occurs in states that have been run by both the PDP and the APC. As a result we cannot expect things to change much even with the wind of change at the recent general elections.
The total amount derivable from this short change, if truly measured, is alarming!
Meanwhile, as this well-orchestrated scheme to defraud workers continue, the two labour centres, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have never been known to see the need to fight this battle for the generality of civil servants . This is unfortunate. We need to ensure that these organisations co-ordinate and support struggles against this theft of promotion increments.
We believe that all workers should be paid their promotion benefits at the exact time of being promoted. There is no need pretending not to be aware of when workers are actually promoted only to finally deprive them of their rightful earnings. We don’t see the need for government to consciously and intentionally deprive government workers of their benefits by delaying their promotions. The government should therefore stop indulging in a very crude and uncivil tactic which only makes government workers poorer.
Socialists understand that governments under the current capitalist economic system never champion the rights of workers. They instead thrive on the exploitation of workers. It is workers themselves that can ensure they get their rightful earnings. Public sector workers and others in the entire country affected by this government fraud should stand up and put a final stop to it NOW!