Minister of Labour and Productivity, Emeka Wogu,
Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, has summoned the management of Promasidor Nigeria Limited, and union leaders in the food and beverage sector to Abuja over the lingering dispute between the two groups.
The meeting may not be unconnected with the notice of industrial action issued by the union to management.
Union leaders under the umbrella of National Food, Beverages and Tobacco Employees (NUFBTE) had issued a one-week ultimatum to the management of Promasidor to pay workers salaries and allowances for the month of June or risk an unprecedented industrial action.
Management of the company had shut down operations for three weeks following a strike threat by the union.
The union had kicked against the termination of appointment of 796 contract staff among whom were members of the in-house union. The union said it was not consulted to negotiate the terminal benefits of the affected staff before their services were terminated.
Despite efforts by the labour ministry in Lagos and the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) to resolve the issue, the management of the company insisted that it will not pay workers for the period of shut down.
The union accused the management of deliberately refusing to pay workers despite several correspondences by stakeholders in the industry. However, management of the company insisted that it would not pay workers for the period of shut down, stating that it was seeking legal interpretation on the matter.
In a notice to the workers, Managing Director of the company, Mr. Keith Richards, said: “We are seeking official review to determine the dispute on the responsibility for the stoppage based on our assertion that the letter from the National body of NUFBTE and the support from the local branch constituted a strike action. The wider industry and other peer companies are concerned about the whole situation and are interested in engagements going forward”.
He explained that the meeting with NECA was inconclusive, adding that the current demands on Promasidor to pay workers terminal benefits and compensation were unreasonable.