The Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) has called on the Federal Government to pay civil servants their December salaries and outstanding emoluments since July 2013 or risk industrial action.
In a statement on December 30, 2013, Monday, the Union disclosed that thousands of federal civil servants were yet to be paid their December 2013 salaries, adding that the affected workers and their families spent Christmas in pain and bore the pangs of hunger.
The ASCSN maintained that the inability of the Federal Government to pay salaries had lent credence to the belief in some quarters that the managers of the public sector economy were “grossly incompetent and rabidly corrupt”.
The statement signed by the union’s secretary, Alade Lawal, called on the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to explain to Nigerians why the Federal Government could no longer pay salaries to its employees as and when due.
It added that it had become necessary for the minister to address the nation on the embarrassing situation since she has continued to maintain that the country is not broke.
The union said it was disheartening that the civil servants, who are the least paid in Africa, South of the Sahara, could no longer get their meagre salaries on due date, stressing that the delay was pushing the workers and their unions to the wall.
It also appealed to President Goodluck Jonathan to step in and order the finance minister to pay civil servants their salaries without further delay, adding that the necessary machinery should be put in place to ensure that such an embarrassing situation does not repeat itself.
The statement further called on the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), civil society groups and prominent individuals to prevail on government to pay members their salaries to avert disruption of services in the public service.
Reacting to the threat by civil servants to go on strike, the finance ministry said that it was investigating the complaint on the non-payment of December salaries and emoluments for six months this year.
It promised to provide updates as appropriate.