Court orders Western Publishers to pay ex-workers N7m in 30 days
Western Publishing Company Limited, publishers of Compass Newspapers, has been ordered by the National Industrial Court (NIC), Lagos to pay former employees all their entitlements, including pensions running into N7 million in the next 30 days.
The trial judge, Ayodele Obaseki Osaghai, while delivering judgment in the suit designated NICN/LA/143/2014, which was instituted by Victor Asowata, Azuka Christopher Nwokocha, Usoro Ndianobong, Moses Abel Hope, Ayodele Kolawole, Emmanuel Ukudolo and Sebastine Enyinna against the publishing outfit owned by former Ogun State governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel noted that the fact that the plaintiffs were joined does not invalidate the suit, insisting that the action falls within the jurisdiction of the court.
The judge held that the defendant failed to prove the allegation that the property obtained by the former workers through higher purchase were not paid for.
The court further declared that the letters of appointments superseded ordinary memo, with an addition that the complainants proved their cases beyond reasonable doubts by tendering relevant documents like letters of appointments, letters of resignation, and statement of accounts from the various pension administrators.
Justice Obaseki consequently directed the media outfit to pay all entitlements within 30 days, failure which 21 percent interest will accrue to the total judgment sum until it is liquidated.
The court equally awarded a cost to the tune of N150, 000 against the defendant.