By Victor Ahiuma-Young
Workers of Eko Distribution Company, EKED, have condemned management deduction of four pension arrears from their salaries at once leaving them little or nothing to take care of their families obligations among others.
The management deducted pension arrears from July to October into the workers’ Retirement Saving Accounts, RSAs, following the Pension Reform Act 2014, that was signed into law by President Goodluck Jonathan, on July 1, 2014.
The workers said management should have spread the deduction over time and not once, to avoid dislocating them financially and compounding their pains. In a circular dated October 24, with reference number EKED. PLC/CIRCULAR NO 013/2014 titled “Implementation of the Pension Reform Act 2014” and signed by Bode Shogo, Vice President (HR/CS), the company said “this is to inform you that the President has signed the Pension Reform Act into law with effect from JULY 1, 2014. The provisions of the Act have increased the contributions of employers and employees to 10% and 8% respectively.
Sequel to this, management will comply with the law and commence implementation with the October payroll and appropriate arrears will apply with effect from July 2014.” Investigation revealed at the time of this report, the four months deductions have not been remitted into the workers Retirement Saving Accounts, RSAs.
Workers, who spoke to Pension & You on condition of anonymity, decried the action of management, describing it as extreme wickedness.
According to them, “how can you remove four months deduction from one month salary? The ideal thing to do is to spread the deductions over time. After the deductions, most of us have been left with little or nothing to take of our families and meet other obligations.”
Similarly, an officer of the National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, told Pension & You that the action of the management contravened labour laws and international best practice which limit deduction from workers’ salary to a level that should discomfort him or her.
According to him, “this action is illegal, unlawful, wicked and impoverishing. In the first place, why did the management wait till October to implement a law which came into effect since four months ago?
We have always known this management to be anti-workers, insensitive, wicked and inhumane. Very soon we are going to descend on the management.
If they like, they should deploy the entire Nigerian Armed Forces to guard. They can’t save them because we are on the side of truth. Everybody knows who they are and what they stand for.”