From Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
Commuters, yesterday were stranded for hours following the non availability of the Edo City Transport Service, (ECTS), as staff loaded themselves into the company’s buses and drove off to the government house to protest what they tagged unfair treatment meted on them by its management.
Speaking with newsmen at the company’s premises at Ramat Park, Ikpoba Hill, Benin City, leader of the group, Mr. Abudu Briamah, alleged that the managing director of the company, Mrs. Edugie Agbonlahor has refused to remit their contributing pension funds to the appropriate quota and on that, they may not know what the future holds for them.
“Our contributions for pension retirement, she has been deducting it since 2017 but she refused to remit it to the body that is incharge and she is owing us over N360m. She should come and pay us.
“We are calling on the EFCC chairman, we are calling on the governor, we are calling on the Edo State Commissioner of Police to get her arrested.
“Why must she not remit our money to the body? She wants to kill us, she wants to kill our career”, he said.
Braimah also accused the MD of casualization of staff, non promotion of staff as and when due, and owing of workers salary for two months.
“We are demanding for our November and December salary and we know that the state government normally pay the state civil servants November salary every on 22 to 24 every month, that is when its being paid but up till now, we have not received November salary, she refused to pay us November’s salary.
“She also refused to implement our minimum wage. Since January 24, to be precise, that is when Edo State started paying civil servants their minimum wage.
“From January till now, how many months is that? That is 12 months. We want the state government to pay us our arrears, to implement our minimum wage, to put an end to casualization of staff, we want them to be staffed, we want the staff to be promoted because since 2015 till now, she refused to promote workers”, he alleged.
He also alleged that the MD of the company collects bogus furniture allowance every three months.
“So, we are tired of the woman, the woman must go. Every three months she is collecting N500,000 as furniture allowance and in a year, that is N2m”, he said.
In a swift reaction, Managing Director, ECTS, Mrs. Edugie Agbonlahor, said that their claims were baseless adding that some of the staff were trying to run their own personal transport lines within the company and she kicked against it vehemently.
Edugie said she decided to put them on suspension to enable the Management carry out their investigations.
“I said the essence of this protest has nothing to do with the issues of pension.
“The issue is that some of them are on indefinite suspension because they want to run a private transport company within the organisation and when I found out, I issued them query, placed them on indefinite suspension while the investigation is going on. That is the essence of the protest”, she said.
She said it is also out of place for the staff to be protesting for two months salary arrears when the state government paid them for five months without working during the COVID19 pandemic.