By Emeka Mamah
KADUNA â€” The 8,000 workforce of NITEL and MTEL have appealed to the Federal Government to provide what they described as intervention fund to clear the 24 months arrears of salaries and wages owed workers in the two organizations.
This is coming on the heels of the controversy which has continued to trailÂ attempts by the government to sell the two government companies to interested core investors.
Senior Staff Association of Communications, Transport and Corporations which made this known in Kaduna yesterday said unless this was done, the workers would no longer guarantee the safety of the multi-billion assets and equipment of the two organisations scattered across the country.
President of the union, Comrade Elias Kazzah, who addressed a news conference said the long silence of the government on the controversial sale of NITEL was of grave concern to them.
Kazzah further noted that the union was not happy with the manner public image of the organisations was being battered as a result of the cumulative effect ofÂ mismanagement and lack of transparency in the recent sale of the two public utilities by the Bureau for Public Enterprise, BPE.
According to Kazzah, the union was also concerned about the security of NITEL/MTEL installations which a responsible leadership must inform government about the implication of such a long silence.
â€œWith the way things are going and with the manner government is handling the sales process and considering the unresolved labour related issues of the payment of outstanding 24 months salaries and unsettlement of disengaged staff entitlement, we can no longer guarantee the safety of the assets of NITEL/MTEL.
â€œWe, therefore, passionately plead with the Federal Government to immediately provide a life saving measure by raising intervention fund to clear the outstanding salaries as they are not political issues and must be distanced from the avoidable interest in the sale of NITEL/MTEL.
â€œThe Federal Government should also pronounce its position on the last resale process. As labour leaders, we cannot continue to plead with the workers who were erroneously sent out of their jobs without adequate payment of their entitlements nor can we convince the working staff to continue to exercise endless patience.”