The Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) has commenced payment of the backlog of money it owed its pensioners, following a recent Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with the national body of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners.
NIPOST was supposed to pay a total of N99.3 million as regular pension for the month December 2012, and another N26.6 million as palliatives for the months of August, September and October, 2012, but failed to pay. This situation led to a strike action embarked upon by NIPOST staff members nationwide since December last year.
However, the strike action was called off following the MoU which was jointly signed by the Postmaster General of the Federation, Ibrahim Mori Baba and the President of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Ali Abatcha.
Workers of NIPOST were pushing for their unpaid pension, which led to sealing up of NIPOST offices nationwide, beginning from Lagos.
The agreement reached between the union and management of NIPOST, a copy of which was made available to THISDAY, showed that NIPOST Management would pay December 2012 pension to its pensioners verified in March 2011 while the three months pension for pensioners verified in December 2011 is to be paid latest by Wednesday, January 23, 2013. The communiqué also stated that Post Offices nationwide would be opened based on the assurance given by the Postmaster General that payment would be made Wednesday, January 23, 2013 and that the Industrial Action would be suspended till further notice.
Public Relations Manager of NIPOST, Mr. Taiye Olaniyi, confirmed to THISDAY that NIPOST had commenced payment on Wednesday January 23, 2013, as agreed at the meeting, and that that all Post Offices that were hitherto shutdown, had been re-opened.
According to the communiqué, all outstanding and other entitlements would be paid not later than February 2013 as promised by the office of the accountant general of the federation during the stakeholders' meeting held on Tuesday, 15 January, 2013 after approval of the Budget.
Mori Baba expressed NIPOST's appreciation to members of the public and customers in particular for their cooperation and understanding during the period the post offices were shut, which led to the inability of NIPOST to meet its statutory obligations to the public.
According to him, "Management appreciation also goes to the National President of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners and members of his executive council for their intervention resulting in the suspension of the industrial action, the Ministry of Communication Technology, Accountant General of the Federation, the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, the Inspector General of Police and the Director General of the State Security Service for their cooperation and support to NIPOST during the industrial action."
He said NIPOST would continue to pursue all measures including collaboration with relevant authorities responsible for processing the entitlements to ensure that the pensioners were paid in good time. He reiterated that both in-serving staff and retirees and members of their families, all belong to the global family through the portal of the Post.