How Lagos Water Corporation short-changes its workers

on   /   in Metro 12:34 am   /   Comments

*Agrees it deducts pension funds without remitting to RSAs

BY MONSURU OLOWOOPEJO

There is currently a brewing acrimony between the  management of the Lagos Water  Corporation, LWC and staffs of the corporation, over the handling of the Retirement Savings Account, RSA under the new pension scheme, introduced in 2007.

The staff are accusing the management of diverting for at least three years pension fund expected to be deposited into their RSAs  for other uses

The management of the account under the new pension system tagged Contributory Pension Scheme, CPS, required that the corporation deducts 7.5 percent from each worker’s salary and 7.5 percent counterpart funding from the corporation; and deposit both into the RSA of each staff managed by any of the six Pension Fund Managers, PFAs appointed by the state government.

The crisis which had been brewing between the management led by the General Managing Director, Mr Shayo Holloway, an engineer and the staff got to its peak after the workers reasoned that the next governor of the state, come 2015, may not retain Holloway, who was appointed by the Bola Tinubu administration.

According to one of the staff of the corporation, who pleaded anonymity;  “Before now, whenever we approach Holloway for remittance of the deducted fund, he always assures us of paying. But at the moment, intending retirees are panicking because they do not know what will be their fate when they retire and he (Holloway) leaves office.”

The new development has halted the peaceful relationship between the management and the staffs, which Vanguard learnt could lead to the staff embarking on industrial action.
As part of their preliminary steps, the Senior Staff Association of Communication Transport and Corporation, SSACTC of the corporation dragged the management to the Lagos State Pension Commission, LASPEC, seeking the assistance of the body.

LASPEC was established in 2009 by the state Governor, Babatunde Fashola to ensure prompt payment of retirement benefits of employees in the service to whom the scheme applies.
Vanguard gathered that the efforts yielded little result, as the management who had stopped remitting since November 2011, suddenly paid two months into the accounts of the PFAs.

We are guilty but making efforts —LWC

In an interview with Vanguard, Holloway  said: “We are not happy as well. We have paid gratuity up to 2009. The next payment will be the 2010. We will be paying in batches. But it will depend on how revenue comes in. Our monthly expenditure outstrips the revenue. We do not have excess income to fully remit. We struggle to pay salaries regularly and monthly pensions to retirees. Our major problem has been gratuity.

“When employees complain that 7.5 percent of their salary is deducted and not remitted, it is not that physical money was deducted from their salary and used for something else. The truth is that when one’s operational expenditure outstrips its revenue, and after preparing the salary schedule, what the corporation has left is just enough to pay the salary.

“We, however, as part of the accounting system note the liabilities. They are noted as deduction. It is not physical cash that is deducted and misused. It is noted only on paper. No physical money has been deducted. The truth is that the corporation revenue could only pay the current salaries. Though one recognises that the fund is noted as deducted. And it is referred to as liabilities,” he added.

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