By Emeka MAMAH, Kaduna
The National Union of Textile Garments and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN) has appealed to the 19 northern state governments to settle the arrears of N687,073,346Â which they are collectively owingÂ disen-gaged staff of the Kaduna Textile (KTL) workers since 2002.
The union said that the disengaged staff had suffered untold hardship due to non-payment of their entitlements since the unilateral closure of KTL by owner states pointing out that the figure was the one jointly agreed to be paid to the workers followingÂ adjudication on the matter by the Industrial Arbitration Panel (IAP).
A statement by the unionâ€™s Deputy General Secretary,Alhaji Umaru Mohammed stressed that the consent award by the panel was issued in September 2005.
The statement read,â€the Union wishes to express its concern over the continuous delay in settlement of the entitlements of the workers of KTL by its owner-19 northern states of the federationâ€.
â€œThe workers have suffered untold hardship due to non-payment of their benefits since the unilateral closure of the factory on May 1, 2002. â€œThe entitlements of the workers have been computed and agreed to by both the union and management arising from theÂ adjudication by the IAP following a trade dispute declared by the union against KTL management in January 2003.
â€œWe again wish to call on the northern governors and the management of the KTL to settle the terminal benefits of the workers without further delay.Â â€œThe point cannot be over-emphasized that these workers are wallowing in abject poverty and impoverishment due to long lay off from work without pay.
â€œUrgent settlement of their entitlements will therefore go a long way in reducing their burden and alleviating their increasing destitution, poverty and desperation capable of causing communal/industrial disharmony.
â€œMeanwhile, we call on the workers to remain steadfast and law abiding in spite of this long provocation and should not allow themselves to be misguided.Â â€œThe Union remains committed to this struggle and will continue to devote energy and resources to ensure the settlements of workersâ€™ terminal benefits by KTL management just as we did in the case of Kano Textile Printers recentlyâ€.