Paul Obiajunwo, Port Harcourt
THE Nigerian Labour Congress, (NLC) Trade Union Congress (TUC) and United Action for Democracy (UAD) have picketed Galba Nigerian Plc., for its failure to pay its workers over a period of 19 months.
The protest which was organised in Port Harcourt by staff members of Automobile, Boatyards, Transport Equipment and Allied Senior Staff Association, was to press down the demand for the payment of the salaries of the workers.
Staff members of the company accused the firm of negligence, noting that the firm had money and running contracts but had refused to pay their workers.
Speaking, the General Secretary of AUTOBATE, Mr. Sola Olorunfemi, said every effort made to bring the company to the dialogue table for discussion failed.
Olorunfemi said “We came all the way from Lagos after all efforts to engage the Galba management in meaningful discussion proved abortive. They owe the workers since 2015 November. We have made the TUC in River State to dialogue with the company over this matter.
“But the management has been playing pranks for over 18 months now in order not to get this salaries paid. The union check up dues deducted from the salaries of the workers since 2010 have not been remitted to the union and it’s a criminal act.
“We have recorded about five persons dead over the level of suffering inflicted on the workers by the company. We sent a message to the owner of the company, T Y Danjuma about the wickedness of the management; we are yet to get reply.
“We will hold this company hostage, there will be no practical operation in this premises until our demand are met. The company has money, they even have an on-going contract but they don’t want to pay the workers.”
Similarly, the branch chairman of AUTOBATE, Galba, Innocent Udongfo, called on the management of the firm to meet their demands for operations to resume at the company.
Udongfo said, “Several negotiations with Galba management could not work because they always want to play over our intelligence. They don’t even listen to us. Anytime we have opportunity to meet with the management they will walk us out.
“We are working for almost five oil giants in this country yet they owe us. Each time we go for our salary it is a problem. Federal Ministry of Labour Port Harcourt is aware of this issue. We had agreement with the Federal Ministry of Labour since 2013 till now we are still suffering.
“We can no longer pay our rents and our children are out of school. We are calling on the management to pay our salaries from 2015 till today. And to remit all our union dues from 2010 till date. They should implement our total emolument of the condition of service duly signed in the employment manual.
Also, Mr. Eric Akaninwo, the TUC State Administrative Officer, said the labour unions are behind the staff of Galba and promised that the needful must been down before the company would be reopened.
Akaninwo said, “We have invited the Galba management for a meeting, unfortunately, the only person we saw there was the Personnel manager, we asked him questions about why they don’t want to pay their worker. He said that they don’t have money and that they have a running contract.
“When we engaged the Galba staffs they said they have a running contract that they even finished one two months ago. After our investigations we understood they don’t want to pay the workers.”
Efforts to speak to the Manager of Galba Nigerian Plc, Mr. Mike Appia, proved abortive as calls made to his phone were neither picked nor returned, but the Personnel in charge of Administration, Mr. Dan Adi, stated that he had nothing to say in respect of the claims of the staff of the company.