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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

IPPS: DICON Workers protest unfair treatment, demand payment of minimum wage



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… Urges Tinubu to Intervene


By Israel Bulus, Kaduna


As Nigeria joins the world to mark Workers Day, the civilian staff of the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), have used the occasion to protest what they termed unfair treatment and transparent payroll practices by the management.

The workers, who trooped out today at the premises of Ordinance Factory Complex, Kakuri, Kaduna with various placards with inscriptions such as: complained about being denied access to a critical program that promotes transparency and efficiency in wage distribution as regards the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).

According to the workers, the exclusion prevents them from receiving the recent wage increase implementation for IPPIS-enrolled employees.

The aggrieved workers during the protest raised concerns about the accuracy of their payroll data outside of IPPIS, said, ” to add insult to injury, the Deputy Director of Human Resources, Mercy Philip, curtly dismissed our inquiries, calling IPPIS a “no-go area” and suggesting they forget about enrollment altogether until she retires.

Speaking further about their concerns, the workers alleged: “Allowances for scarce skills (established in 2008) and transportation (introduced in 2015) were abruptly stopped without explanation, causing frustration and a sense of unfair treatment. This is they described as a reprehensible treatment of a dedicated workforce.”

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” To confirm the maltreatment, the workers alleged that Director of Production, Air Commodore, Ola Emmanuel in his address to some staff in the factory justified reasons civil staff have not enjoyed wage awards Stressing, We have not received a single month of the wage award since it was announced in September 2023.

He also said that rather than questioning our management, we should go and ask the Accountant General and Permanent Secretary Ministry of Defense and budget office and salary and wages commission to confirm why the nonpayment of the wage rewards.

They explained further,” We are owed eight months of minimum wage arrears dating back to 2019. Additionally, we haven’t received the N35,000 six-month wage award initiated by the federal government in September 2023. With a new minimum wage on the horizon, we are concerned that we may be left behind again.

“Unfortunately, our attempts to address these concerns through open communication with DICON’s management have fallen on deaf ears.
“Management has brushed aside our concerns, and even the Employee Town Hall, promised by the Director General to be held every two months, has never been held. This lack of transparency is further hindering progress.

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“We have held peaceful protests, first on July 3rd, 2023, and most recently the one we declared on Tuesday, April 23, 2024, demonstrating a commitment to finding solutions. As DICON is a non-union workplace, we are staging this peaceful protest on a symbolically significant day for workers’ rights: May 1st. This comes amid reports of a list being compiled to terminate the appointments of those believed to be spearheading the ongoing protests.

“Furthermore, it should be noted that the demoralization and potential dismissal of a highly skilled workforce with exclusive expertise in producing restricted goods like weapons and explosives poses a significant security threat. Disgruntled or desperate workers could be more vulnerable to exploitation or radicalization, potentially jeopardizing the security of these sensitive materials. Will laying off such a critical workforce not exacerbate security threats by placing sensitive expertise in uncertain hands?

The workers, however, said the failure on the side of DICON Management to meet the obligations to its civilian workforce has hurt employees’ morale which raises serious concerns about fair treatment.
They urged President Bola Tinubu to take immediate action to address the concerns regarding fair treatment; transparent payroll practices, and the timely resolution of these outstanding issues.

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