Oil workers yesterday disrupted business activities at the head quarters of General Electric over non settlement of exit benefits of their ex-staff, four years after disengagement from service.
The workers under the umbrella of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) as early as 7 a.m blocked the main entrance to the Victoria Island office of the company located at Bishop Aboyade Cole.
The NUPENGASSAN members said they were simply demanding for their rights after long period of failed promises of their former employer.
The disengaged workers lamented that despite several entreaties by relevant authorities including the Department of State Services to resolve the crisis, all has been to no avail.
In his address on behalf of the workers, Head of Lagos Zone of NUPENG, Tayo Badmus said Nigerians cannot continue to be treated with disdain or contempt and that the rights of workers cannot continue to be abused without consequences such as this.
“The Ministry of Labour and Employment had intervened at three different occassions and an MOU was signed by both parties and other concerned parties.
“Meanwhile, General Electric and its recruiting firm, Arco Group, agreed to pay the workers their benefits within 7 days in December 2019.
“But then General Electric claimed it needed to reconcile excess withholding tax deductions of the affected staff from FIRS, giving assurances that as soon as that is done payment would commence,” Badmus said.
The unions said when further contacted on why the payment hasn’t commenced in early 2020, Arco Group claimed that the delay was from FIRS.
Badmus said NUPENG however went to confirm, but realised FIRS had done the needful and was shocked why General Electric has refused to honour its word.
At the time of filing in this report, efforts to get the management of the company to react to all the allegations leveled against them by the protesting workers proved abortive.