Members of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and United Action for Democracy yesterday picketed Galba Nigerian Plc, located at Trans-Amadi Industrial layout in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital for failure to pay its workers over a period of 19 months.
The protest which was organised by staff members of Automobile, Boatyards, Transport Equipment and Allied Senior Staff Association (AUTOBATE), was to press down the demand for the payment of the salaries of the workers for the mentioned number of months.
The 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. The group also protested the non payment of 7 years unions dues.
The protesting staff carried placards with inscription: “It is impunity to deduct union dues and embezzle them-TUC, stop the violations of conditions of service AUTOBATE, it is a crime to owe workers. No payment, no more work, Galba stop insulting labour laws, 19 months unpaid salaries, over 10 workers dead”.
The General Secretary of AUTOBATE, Mr. Sola Olorunfemi, who spoke at the scene of the picketing, noted that every effort made to bring the company to 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 no 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 to 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.