The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) staff has embarked on a three-day warning strike over poor conditions of service, remuneration, and welfare packages.
The Agency staff who embarked on the warning strike with an organised peaceful protest in Abuja expressed dissatisfaction over the high level of neglect given to their welfare.
The warning strike is being coordinated by three unions, Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Almagamated Union of Civil Service Public Coporation, Technical and Recreational Service Employees (AUCPTRE) and Radio Television & Theatre Arts Workers Union (RATTAWU), who had earlier written to the management, Head of Civil Service, ministry of information, among others, giving a 7-day notice to address the union demands.
A statement jointly signed by the NUJ Chairman, Yetunde Bada, AUCPTRE Chairman, Suleiman Haruna, and RATTAWA Chairman, Daniel Akphiare explained that the situation in NAN is so dire that most of the agency staff are indebted to banks, microfinance and cooperative societies inorder to make ends meet.
The statement added that the conditions of service in use in the agency is 16 years old which is now obsolete. Adding that the public service rules allows Ministry, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to review these conditions every five years.
According to the statement, “the stipend of N5,000 paid monthly to editorial and marketing staff to augment transportation is now 48 months overdue. All privileges relating to bus drop offs of reporters at assignment venues have been cancelled.
Also in the demands of the union are training of staff to enhance efficiency and effectiveness, payment of overtime arrears for drivers and arrears of transportation Allowance for the staff of the editorial department, payment of promotion arrears for 2012 and 2017 and payment of shortfall of promotion arrears of 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Others are payment of DTA and hotel allowances to staff that left their base to write the 2018 Promotion Examination in Lagos and Abuja and payment of repatriation allowances of foreign correspondents.
The joint unions appealed to the federal government and management of the agency to look into staff welfare, remuneration and improve conditions of service to enable the staff return to work as soon as possible.
Addressing newsmen during the protest, Haruna, noted that the Agency will embark on another 21 days warning, and there after proceed to an indefinite strike, if the demands are not met after these three days.
Also speaking, the NUJ Secretary, FCT, Rafat Idris Salami, also called on the government to intervene on the pressing issues affecting the workers
“We have been trying to stop the strike, but we did not receive any positive reply from the government, we are poorer than we were in five years and that shouldn’t be allowed to continue,” She said.