Organised labour under the aegis of Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) has vowed to cripple the Public Service if the Federal Government proceeds to sack 23,000 Public Servants under the guise of weeding out “ghost workers”.
In a statement issued in Lagos yesterday, the ASCSN National President Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama and the Secretary-General Comrade Alade Bashirl Lawal, stated that information reaching the National Secretariat of the Association in Lagos showed that the Federal Government planned to hide under the guise of hunting “ghost workers” to send thousands of Public Savants into the labour market at a time when the economic hardship had escalated and millions of Nigerians live below one dollar per day.
“This is the only reason why the Finance Minister, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, has rebuffed all overtures by the Union to set up a Government-Labour Panel to investigate the existence of the alleged “ghost workers” in the Public Service or make their names public,” the Union stated.
The ASCSN recalled that when some Federal Ministries were merged few months ago, the Federal Government assured Nigerians that the exercise would not lead to retrenchment.
“What is becoming clear now is that because of the merger of the Ministries, the Federal Government is now bent on reducing its workforce under the guise that there are 23,000 “ghost workers” in the Public Service.
“It should become crystal clear to Government officials that Nigerian workers and their trade Unions cannot be taken for a ride anymore. If the Finance Minister is convinced that there are “ghost workers” in the Public Service, why is she against Government-Labour Panel to establish the authenticity of the claim or make the names of the so-called ghost workers public” the Union wondered.
The ASCSN posited that the last Federal Administration worked closely with labour to solve knotty labour issues without allowing them to degenerate into industrial crisis.
It warned against the emergence of arrogant government officials who see themselves as demigods and believe that they are “too big” to sit down on the negotiating table to discuss with their fellow citizens.
“These workers we are talking about are free citizens that have equal stake in the Nigerian project. So why should some government officials think that they can be dishing out bad policies against Nigerian workers without getting input from them and their trade unions,” the ASCSN wondered.
“We want to urge President Muhammadu Buhari not to allow fifth columnist in Government to bring him into collision course with millions of Nigerian workers under the umbrellas of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) who have given his Administration total support since its inception,” the ASCSN emphasised.
The Union urged President Buhari to direct the Finance Minister to institute Government-Labour Panel to investigate the alleged existence of “ghost workers” in the Federal Public Service without further delay.
It stressed the need for Mr President not to allow the enormous goodwill by Nigerians including millions of workers which brought him power to be eroded by intransigent public officers who might be pursuing personal agenda using the Government as a platform.