By Davies Iheamnachor
PORT HARCOURT – The Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, Trade Union Congress, TUC, United Action for Democracy and staffs of Automobile, Boatyards, Transport Equipment and Allied Senior Staff Association, AUTOBATE, have picketed Galba Nigerian Plc. over 19 months unpaid salaries of the workers.

The labour unions which barricaded the entrance to the company with different placards that read, ‘Stop the violation of condition of service,’ ‘It is a crime to owe workers’ ‘No pay, no more work’ said the picketing is to attract the attention of the world to the plight of workers of Galba.

Speaking, the branch chairman of AUTOBATE in Galba, Comrade Innocent Udongfo, accused the management of the company of negligence and urged them to meet the demands of the worker.

Udongfo said: “We can no longer pay our rents and our children are out of school. We are calling on the management to pay our salaries from 2015 till today. And to remit all our union dues from 2010 till date. They should implement our total emolument of the condition of service duly signed in the employment manual.

“Several negotiations with Galba management could not work because they always want to play over our intelligence. They don’t even listen to us. Anytime we have opportunity to meet with the management they will walk us out.”

The General Secretary of AUTOBATE, Mr. Sola Olorunfemi, explained the union had made several attempt to resolve the issue but regretted that Galba had avoided the invitations.

Olorunfemi said, “We came all the way from Lagos after all efforts engage the Galba management in meaningful discussion proved abortive. They owe the workers since 2015 November. We have made the TUC in River State to dialogue with the company over this matter. But the management has been playing pranks for over 18 months now in order not to get this salaries paid.

“We have recorded about five persons dead over the level of suffering inflicted on the workers by the company. We will hold this company hostage, there will be no practical operation in this premises until our demand are met.

Meanwhile, the TUC State Administrative Officer, Comrade Eric Akaninwo, urged the management of the firm to be responsibly and be committed to the welfare of Nigerian workers.
Akaninwo, who for other labour organsations in the picketing said, “We have invited the Galba management for a meeting, unfortunately, the only person we saw there was the Personnel manager, we asked him questions about why they don’t want to pay their worker.

After our investigations we understood they don’t want to pay the workers.
“What they do is any money that comes in they share it among themselves, so many of them have opened their own companies with the money. If there is no money coming out of this place as management staff they would have all resigned.”

However, calls made to the Managing Director of Galba Nigerian Plc, Mr. Mike Appia, to get the company’s reaction were neither picked nor returned, but Administrative Officer of the firm, Mr. Dan Adi, said has nothing to say on the claims of the staff members.

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