By Victor Ahiuma-Young
“INTELS pay our terminal and other benefits. We have worked for U since 2005 to 2018, INTELS pay our benefits. We reject being used as slaves in our country by INTELS. We hear say FG wants to give INTELS another pilotage contract. Pls, do not give INTELS another contract to make money to develop other countries. Federal Government, we beg U do not give INTELS another contract until it pays workers their terminal and other benefits”.
“MD of NPA, beware of INTELS. A word is enough for the wise”.
“Transportation Minister, Amaechi, beware of INTELs. Dem fit put U into trouble”.
“President Buhari, Minister of Labour intervene, save us from untimely death. INTELS is only interested in Dollars, but do not care about workers’ welfare.”
“FG please, look into the activities of INTELS.”
“Top INTELS mgt staff have relocated to Lugano, Switzerland. Few Nigerians holding forth for them have become demi-gods and can’t be reached.”
These were some of the inscriptions on the placards displayed by representatives of over 600 disengaged Dockworkers, who stormed the Apapa headquarters of Vanguard Media Limited, to protest unpaid terminal and other benefits by Integrated Logistics Services Limited, INTELS.
Spokesperson of the group, Effiok Asuquo Effiok, said they worked for three Stevedoring Companies in Onne, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Calabar, Cross River State, and Warri, Delta State, before their appointments were terminated because the principal; Integrated Logistics Services Limited, INTELS, terminated the contract of the Stevedoring companies that employed them.
According to him: “We are representatives of over 600 Dockworkers working for three Stevedoring companies in Onne, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Calabar, Cross River State and Warri, Delta State, whose appointments were terminated because the principal; Integrated Logistics Services Limited, INTELS, terminated the contract of the Stevedoring companies that employed us.
“The Stevedoring companies are: Nted Internationals Limited (now Faiton Stevedoring Services Limited) involved in Service Boat and Berges operations in Onne Port, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, where we worked from 2005 to February, 2020, before our disengagement; Modern Stevedoring Services Limited in Calabar, Cross River State, INTELS Berth, from 2005 to February 2020, before our termination, and Modern Stevedoring Services Limited, offering Offshore Stevedoring services to INTELS in Warri, Delta State, and Rivers as well, from 2005 to 2018, when we were terminated.”
ALSO READ: Why I sold off my Intels’ shares ― Atiku
20 died waiting for benefits
According to him: “We are here to plead with you to help us tell the Federal Government and well-meaning Nigerians to intervene on our behalf for INTELS to pay us our terminal benefits.
“We have written several letters to INTELS, even the Union, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN, has also written several letters to INTELS to no avail. We have lost no fewer than 20 of our colleagues in Calabar, Onne and Warri, to the cold hands of death since we were disengaged without pay as they had no money to meet their medical needs and other commitments.
“As we talk, we have been informed that the General Manager, Operations, and other top management staff of INTELS have relocated to Lugano, Switzerland. We do not have anybody to complain to anymore.
“The sad story is that the Nigerians who are overseeing INTELS’ activities here have become demi-gods who do not care about our plight. Workers are really being enslaved by INTELS.
“The level of unfair labour practices by INTELS is unimaginable.
“Besides our issue, there is also the case of about 630 workers sacked by INTELS between November 2020 and June 2021 and INTELS has refused to pay their benefits.
In their case, they protested against unpaid benefits, INTELS got an injunction restraining the workers or the Union from going on strike. While the order of the court was still subsisting, INTELS sacked them from work and still refused to pay them their terminal benefits.
“Recently, the Industrial Arbitration Panel, IAP, ordered INTELS to pay the workers their benefits, but till today, INTELS has refused.
That is the level of disdain and lack of respect INTELS has for Nigerians, Nigerian industrial relations process and institutions including the Judiciary.
The protesting workers added: “We hear the Federal Government is planning to award another multi-million dollar contract to INTELS, apart from several other contracts INTELS is currently executing for the government.
“We are using this medium to beg the government not to award another contract to INTELS until it pays the terminal and other benefits it owes Nigerian workers.
“Secondly, the government should make INTELS sign undertaking to be a responsible employer and respect the Nigerian Industrial relations process as well as institutions as a condition for further business dealings.
INTELS refuses to comment
Efforts to speak with INTELS were unsuccessful. Text message and several calls put across to the firm’s Media consultant were not responded to as at press time.