From Ron-Well Jacob, Jos
14 aggrieved Staff of Zuma Steel West Africa Ltd have dragged the company to the National Industrial Court over N65 million unpaid salaries and allowances for the past 11 years.
The workers, through their counsel, Mr Eric Duniya, sought nine reliefs before the presiding Judge, Justice Kenneth Amadi of the industrial court, sitting in Jos.
The staff had claimed that the company had engaged them in May 2006 only to asked to them hold on in March 2017, for what it (management) called “Turn around maintenance and modernization of the factory.’’
Since then they have been waiting, without the firm minding how they were surviving as it stop paying them the half salary it was giving them.
According to them, they were taken aback, when on Aug. 3, 2017, they were individually issued quit notice to vacate their quarters or pay rent of between N100, 000 to N400, 000 depending on the type of accommodation.
Those who are in a single room apartments were asked to pay N100, 000; 1-Bedroom – N150, 000; 2-Bedroom – N300, 000; and 3-Bedroom – N400, 000.
According to the workers, they were taken aback by the quit notice more so that there was no letter of disengagement or termination of their appointments by the management of the company, formerly known as Jos Steel Rolling Mill.
“They (workers) were statutory employed and the only method that the management can disengage or terminate their appointments is through a letter of disengagement or termination of appointment.
“It’s a service tenancy, they had with the management, so they are entitled to remain in their respective quarters pursuant to the terms contained in their letters of employment, ’’ the counsel alleged.
Duniya said, “they only leave when they are formally disengaged and their entitlements paid to them.’’
When the case came up for hearing on Thursday, the Defence Counsel, Mr Ekechukwu Ajunwa, was said to have traveled to Abuja, as he sent a letter to the court in that respect.
Mr Nosu Lucky, who represented Ajunwa, applied for an adjournment of the case to enable him (Ajuna) to appear in person to continue with the defence.
Duniya however, did not object to the application.
The Judge then adjourned the case to Oct. 30 and 31 for hearing.