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Defunct Nitel workers lay siege on ministry

By Victor Ahiuma-Young
Over non-payment of 30 month salary arrears

ABUJA—AGGRIEVED workers of moribund Nigeria Telecommunication Limited, NITEL and its Mobil-Telecommunication, M-TEL, yesterday, for the second day, laid siege on the Ministry of Labour and Productivity, demanding payment of their 30 month salary arrears and benefits.

However, Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, has reiterated government’s determination to find a lasting solution to their problems, saying government had constituted a Presidential task force on NITEL/MTEL labour restructuring.

Vanguard gathered that the workers raised allegations of betrayal against the government and their union.
They were said to have vowed not to leave the Eagle Square until they were paid.

A statement by Mr.Emmanuel Aziken, Special Assistant on Media, to the Labour Minister, said, however, that the Minister pleaded with them to exercise patience and allayed their fears of betrayal, saying the government and the union had been in talks on seeking ways of alleviating their situation.

He affirmed that a meeting between the Ministry and the Union had been scheduled for today.

He said: “The situation of the workers is really pathetic but has reassured that government is putting efforts towards finding a lasting solution. This problem has dogged the sector for long, but I am confident that the involvement of the president and the vice-president is a decisive factor in finding a final solution.

“I sympathise with the workers and urge them to maintain the peace while efforts will continue towards resolving the issue. I am particularly glad that they have agreed to vacate the Eagle Square and return to their homes and that is indeed a first breakthrough for us.”


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