By  Victor Ahiuma-Young

INDICATIONS have emerged that no fewer than 200 workers of Delta Steel Company, Ovwian-Aladja, Warri, Delta State, died in the last five years waiting for their entitlements.

According to Iron and Steel Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, ISSSAN, the workers died as a result of lack of money to attend to their medical needs and frustration.

Acting General Secretary of ISSSAN, Adewale Okeshola, told Vanguard that the  workers in DSC had suffered untold hardship and dehumanization as a result of the closure of the company over five years ago and the subsequent takeover by Assets Management Company of Nigeria, AMCON.

According to him, within the period of closure, workers had been exposed to untold hardship; with no fewer than 200 dead, as a result of hunger, sickness and many homes broken due to lack of means of livelihood, adding “The workers heaved a sigh of relief when AMCON appointed Mr. Joseph Nwobike, SAN, as Receivers’ Manager to carry out all functions and to manage the company including working out the actual amount owed each worker.

The two unions, ISSSAN and Steel and Engineering Workers Union of Nigeria, SEWUN, entered into negotiation with the Receivers Manager upon his appointment by AMCON, where 100 percent of the workers terminal benefits was agreed to be paid.

“Immediately after those meetings, AMCON reneged on the promise,” Okeshola said.

We later gathered that they  had started holding meetings with some disgruntled elements within the workforce in DSC, who parade themselves as working for the interest of the workers who have suffered protracted and obvious delay in the payment of their salaries for over five years now, by entering into an unholy alliance with the management to short changed the workers in the payment of their terminal benefits.

“The Unions remained undaunted in making sure that no worker is cheated or shortchanged as we were reliably told that negotiations were ongoing by some faceless group who are not first and foremost, members of the executives of any of the two unions in the Steel sector- ISSSAN and SEWUN with management of DSC where workers would be made to collect an unacceptable 25 percent of their terminal benefits.”

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