…want FG to pay backlog of salaries
By Ola Ajayi
AS the sale of the Nigerian Telecommunication Plc, Ibadan, to a core investor is being finalized; scores of concerned staff of the company yesterday staged a peaceful protest over alleged suspicious confirmation of the appointment and promotion of top management staff.
They complained that this development would further compound the problem of the company, especially when it is about being handed over to the investor.
The workers argued that the quick intervention by the Federal Government in the matter would return sanity to the company and save it from unnecessary troubles as a result of the activities of some people who are allegedly pursuing their own interest at the expense of others.
The workers also made a passionate plea to the government to ensure the immediate payment of backlog of unpaid salaries and allowances.
Also, some of the workers who claimed to have been on casual appointment for the past 15 years accused the government of flouting an order of the court which compelled NITEL to treat them as permanent staff and pay them all their entitlements and benefits.
Speaking through their State Chairman, Comrade Ganiyu Shittu, they alleged that since the judgment had been given on 6 November 2008, the government is yet to implement the court order.
The workers, who were visibly angry at the alleged suffering the government subjected them to, complained that the government owed them 20 months salaries arrears.
While waiting anxiously for the payment of their salaries, they said they were surprised to find out that the top management of the company confirmed their appointment and also carried out what they described as â€œpromotion of some selected staff to disorganize themâ€.
Ask FG, N-Assembly, BPE to intervene
Arguing that the promotion and confirmation of appointment of the management staff was ill-timed, they urged the Federal Government, and the Bureau of Public Enterprises and other well meaning Nigerians to intervene in the matter.
They said, â€œwe wish to draw the attention of the FG, National Assembly, BPE and other Nigerians to the recent unpleasant decisions of the top management wherein all the acting top management staff such as TMs, DGMs, CFO, COO and CEO had their appointments quietly and hurriedly confirmed immediately after the last bidding process was concluded by the BPEâ€.
According to the aggrieved workers, â€œit is worrisome that at a time when NITEL staff are appealing daily for the payment of the 20-month salary arrears owed them by the government and BPE, the top management believes this is the right time for them to confirm all their acting appointments and pacify a selected few with promotions on the eve of handing over the company to a new core investorâ€.
They wondered why the government is hinging the payment of their salaries on the proceeds from the sale of NITEL instead of paying them as it did for other Federal Government privatized companies like the Nigeria Airways and Ajaokuta Steel Company.