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Union fights over unpaid wages and workers’ rights violations at Galba Nigeria

15 April, 2021IndustriALL Global Union affiliate, the Automobile, Boatyards, Transport, Equipment and Allied Senior Staff Association (AUTOBATE) is fighting for the payment of wages to over 60 workers at Galba Nigeria and for the engineering company to respect workers’ rights.

The workers are owed wage arrears of 350 million Naira (US$920, 000) for four years whilst some have retired without even receiving their benefits.

According to AUTOBATE, some workers have since died before being paid their wages whilst those who remain at work are suffering and failing to pay for their living expenses. Some workers with more than 25 years of experience retired without any pension benefits or gratuities when management at Galba Nigeria told them to “go and rest”.

AUTOBATE says the company has not been remitting dues already deducted from the workers to the union since 2013, in violation of trade union rights that are protected by national labour laws and international labour standards.

“The situation is pathetic because to date we have recorded over 14 deaths of staff from complications of blood pressure, hypertension, and stroke because they could not pay their bills including rents, school fees, medical fee and household expenditure for their families,”

says Olusola Joel Olorunfemi, AUTOBATE general secretary.

In its fightback against the violations, AUTOBATE has organized pickets and demonstrations outside the company premises in Port Harcourt. The union has also taken Galba Nigeria to the National Industrial Court of Nigeria over the non-payment of wages and the workers’ rights violations. The court action came after efforts by the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria to mediate in the dispute failed. The union also sought intervention from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment to no avail.

Paule France Ndessomin IndustriALL regional secretary for Sub Saharan Africa says:

“The level of wage theft and workers’ rights violations at Galba Nigeria is shocking and unacceptable. We support AUTOBATE in its demand for the payment of wage arrears at Galba Nigeria and for defending workers’ rights and standing firm on the adherence to fair labour standards and decent working conditions.”

Galba Nigeria is an engineering company that provides services to oil companies in Port Harcourt and Rivers State.

Photo credit: stock imge, Port Harcourt, Nigera