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Arewa Textiles workers protest non-payment of entitlements

By Saxone Akhaine, Kaduna
17 December 2021   |   2:46 am
Hundreds of workers laid off by the defunct Arewa Textiles Plc, yesterday, held a protest in Kaduna against planned sale of the company’s properties without payment of alleged N600 million emoluments of staff.

[FILES] Textile machine

Urge El-Rufai to fulfil campaign promises

Hundreds of workers laid off by the defunct Arewa Textiles Plc, yesterday, held a protest in Kaduna against planned sale of the company’s properties without payment of alleged N600 million emoluments of staff.

The workers, under Coalition of Unpaid Textiles Workers Association, carried placards denouncing the planned sale, even as they appealed to the management of the company to pay up. Arewa Textiles closed shop in 2005 and laid off over 4000 workers.

The protesters appealed to Northern elders and political leaders to intervene in their plight. They reminded Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, of his campaign promise to make a case for revival of the company and payment of workers’ entitlements.

Addressing the former employees, Secretary of the Coalition, Musa Ibrahim, said: “The situation we have found ourselves is pathetic. The management has abandoned the workers. We are hearing that the governor wants to buy the factory. We have no problem with that. But if it is true, we are appealing to the governor to pay our entitlements before taking over.

“For over 18 years, we have been in this pain and struggle to get our benefits without success. We want to remind el-Rufai to fulfil his campaign promise of reviving the company, and pay our gratuities.

“He told us during his campaign in 2015 that he would make a case for revival of the company and pay our entitlements. This is our property until our benefits are paid.

“We are here to pray to God and our political leaders to come to our aid and pay our benefits. Over 30,000 workers were laid off from all the textile industries in Kaduna. We lost some of our members while they were waiting for their entitlements.”

Earlier, the Organising Secretary of National Union of Textiles, Garments and Tailoring Workers Union of Nigeria, Comrade Adepoju Fatai, said: “Because of this, we were in court for over 10 years. The court ruled in favour of the workers. But the management refused to pay. If a court gives judgment, it should be obeyed, but the reverse is the case. The court gave judgment for N250 million as against N600 million, being the entire sum of our entitlements.

“We heard that Kaduna State government wants to take over the company. We are not bothered about the takeover, but pay our benefits.”

They cannot sell it without paying our entitlements. Nothing will be done here until our entitlements are paid.”