Nigerian Coal Corporation (NCC) Workers Protest Non-Payment

Nigerian Coal Corporation (NCC) Workers Protest Non-Payment

Tuesday, August 8th 2006

Aggrieved workers of the Nigerian Coal Corporation (NCC) Enugu who were retrenched last year, have protested the non-payment of their severance package.

In a protest letter made available to newsmen, the workers asked the Minister of Solid Minerals Develo-pment, Leslie Obiora to intervene and order the payment of their entitlements being withheld by the management of the corporation.

Lamenting that the non-payment of their entitlements has cost them untold hardship, the workers said since the approval for settlement of their entitlements was made over four months ago, the management in Enugu led by James Okafor has refused to pay them.

Spokesman of the Workers, Comrade Bernard Nnadi and the Secretary, Comrade Innocent Igbokwe, said they had indicated interest to buy houses but regretted that their request was rebuffed.

They said they had been surviving through other menial jobs, adding that prompt payment of their entitlements will enable them to go into pribvate business

Part of the letter reads, “the hard reason is that for four months now, the staff occupying quarters are yet to know their fate. We neither have our money nor the house”.

We are interested in the purchase of the house we occupy and maintained for so many years. The maintenance of these houses has been from the menial jobs we do, even before and after the fallen into comatose of the coal industry. We do not know who are benefitting from the interest accuring from the stock of the money”.

The workers disclosed that many of their members have died because of lack of money to take care of themselves.

“On the very day of the payment [April 18th, 2006], the acting managing Director of Nigerian Coal Corporation, James Okafor made us colect questionaires instead of our due cheques. He told us that the dropping of the cheques and the picking of the questinaires were for confirmation of our ealier applications made for the purchase of the houses. He told us that the processes involved in the sale of the houses would be completed within two weeks then. He continued that the committee on evaluation were already at the Mining Corporation Jos, doing the same evaluation. But on the latest meeting we held with him on July 7th, 2006, he told us to submit our respective house keys if, we want our cheques back”, the letter said..

The Managing Director of the corporation, Mr James Okafor could not be reached to react tom the workers’ claims as at the time of filing this report, but officials who did not want to be quoted confirmed that the retrenched workers are yet to be paid.

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