Dockworkers storm The Guardian over unpaid benefits by INTELS
Representatives of over 600 disengaged dockworkers on Monday stormed the headquarters of The Guardian while protesting unpaid benefits by Integrated Logistics Services Limited (INTELS).
Carrying placards with inscriptions such as “INTELS, pay our terminal and other benefits, we have worked for U since 2005 to 2018”, “Transportation Minister, Amaechi, beware of INTELs. Dem fit put U into trouble” and “We reject being used as slaves in our country”, among others, also lamented that 20 of them had died while waiting to receive their benefits.
Spokesperson of the group, Effiok Asuquo Effiok, said they worked for three stevedoring companies in Onne, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Calabar, Cross River State, and Warri, Delta State before they were disengaged because the principal, INTELS, terminated the contract of the stevedoring companies that employed them.
According to him, the stevedoring companies were Nted Internationals Limited (now Faiton Stevedoring Services Limited), involved in service boat and barges operations in Onne Port, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, where they worked from 2005 to February 2020, before disengagement.
He also identified Modern Stevedoring Services Limited, in Calabar, Cross River State, INTELS Berth, from 2005 to February 2020, before their termination, and Modern Stevedoring Services Limited, offering offshore stevedoring services to INTELS in Cross River State and Rivers State as well, from 2005 to 2018, when they were also terminated.
The workers demanded that the government should make INTELS sign an undertaking to be a responsible employer and respect the Nigerian industrial relations process as well as institutions as a condition for further business dealings.
Effiok said: “We have lost no fewer than 20 of our colleagues in Calabar, Onne, and Warri, to the cold hands of death since we were disengaged without pay as they had no money to meet their medical needs and other family commitments.
“We hear the Federal Government is planning to award another multi-million dollars contract to INTELS, apart from several other contracts INTELS is currently executing for the government. We are using this medium to beg the government not to award another contract to INTELS until it pays the terminal and other benefits it owes Nigerian workers.
“As we talk, we have been informed that the General Manager, Operations, and other top management staff of INTELS have relocated to Lugano, Switzerland. We do not have anybody to complain to anymore. The sad story is that the Nigerians who are overseeing INTELS’ activities here have become demi-gods, who do not care about our plight. INTELS are really enslaving workers. The level of unfair labour practices by INTELS is unimaginable,” the workers said.
Efforts by The Guardian to get reactions from INTELS proved abortive as calls placed to the firm were not picked.