By Festus Ahon, Asaba
Delta state government has warned rubber and palm plantation owners against withholding wages of their staff under the guise of deductions for dues and cooperative societies.
The state governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, handed down the warning while addressing members of the National Union of Agriculture and Allied Employees, NUAAE when the Solidarity Centre in collaboration with the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Delta State Chapter held a talk to sensitize government on the plight of plantation workers.
Represented by the Special Adviser on Servicom and Labour, Mr. Mike Okeme, at the event themed: “Save Nigerian Workers From Modern Day Slavery”, Okowa said “I want to assure you that that salaries, cooperatives, union dues, welfare dues and all deductions made from salaries are part of salaries and so no plantation owner can seize part of your salary, especially those from cooperatives”.
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While noting that solutions are found when issues are brought to the public domain, he said: “Any such plantation owner that have seized your wages, please write their names and the company with a view to giving them a marching order within this week and next week and we will also involve the Ministry of Agriculture to make sure that these orders are complied with”.
In their remarks, Vice Chairman of NLC in the state Okwudi Osita Zico and NUAAE state Chairman, Gbemudu Pamela Ifeoma decried the poor working condition and called on members to be resolute and not relent.
Earlier in her presentation, the Senior Program Officer, Solidarity Center, Nkechi Odinukwe, told the governor that rubber and plantation workers suffers from poor working conditions with lack of schools, hospitals and other basic social amenities.
She said the workers suffers from poor renumeration, deductions alleging that cooperative money due them were not also being given to them.