Protest rocks Rivers as INTELS sacks 700 workers without benefits

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Protest rocked Onne in Rivers State on Friday following the decision of Intels Nig. Limited to sack over 700 members of its staff without benefits.

The aggrieved sacked workers, who began the protest on Tuesday said they would only stop their demonstrations if the firm paid their benefits.

The protesters and members of the Associated Maritime Services (AMS) barricaded the entrance to the firm’s plant yard displaying  placards.

Some of the placards contained messages such as ‘Kindly do the Needful pay us our Redundancy Money,’ ‘Every Labourer Deserves His Wages, Pay us our Money,’ ‘Please INTELS do the Needful, pay us Don’t Send us home Empty Handed We Were Your Workers’.

The President of AMS Union Staff Association, Intels, Sunday Atakpo, urged the management of the firm to pay the sacked workers their redundancy money.

Atakpo said: “AMS is the major part of Intels group. We are here because over 700 of our men were placed on redundancy without following the condition of service.

“They had tried this three months ago and we blocked the road and protested and we were called for negotiation. While the discussions were on,  they went round and terminated the people on the 8 of December when discussions have not concluded and benefits of the people have not been paid.

“Since 1998, Intels and AMS have been having single negotiations, they are the same people. When we started this negotiation, we sat for about seven times and they said INTELS and AMS have been separated, we agreed. They went into discussions with INTELS 68 workers who were dropped and their benefits were paid to them.

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“When it came to AMS, they brought in about 633 redundant staffs and their benefits were not paid to them. And we are asking where in this world will you work and will not be paid. These are staff who have worked for you for over 25 years and you want to lay them off without benefits.

“What they are doing is against any known labour law. Let them pay our people and we will leave them alone. You have not paid them off and you are chasing them out of the company, it is shameful and unexpected.”

Also, Tunde Bolaji, the Chairman of Junior Staff INTELS AMS district of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, appealed to the state Governor, Cheif Nyesom Wike, the Federal Government and Labour Organisations to compel INTELS to clear their outstanding benefits before laying them off.

Efforts to reach Intels management were unsuccessful but it was gathered that the protesters were not Intels employees but members of staff of contractual firms engaged by Intels.

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