October 1, 2022


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Ex-workers tackle firm over gratuities, 13 colleagues die

Members of the Senior and Junior Staff Union of Vital Malt Plc, Agbara, in the Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government of Ogun State have lamented the non-payment of their allowances and gratuities since they were retrenched by the company in 2010.

The ex-workers also claimed that no fewer than 13 of their colleagues had died due to the treatment meted out to them by the company.

The ex-Chairman of the Senior Staff Union, Akeem Oyinlola, who came to the premises of PUNCH Place, Magboro, with some of the executives to register their grievances, explained that the beverage company disengaged them in 2010 due to their union activities.

Oyinlola, who also was the former Deputy National President of The Food Beverage and Tobacco Senior Staff Association, told PUNCH Metro that the management of the company disengaged over 80 staff members, adding that their entitlements were not paid.

He said, “The chairman and chief executive officer of the company laid us off in 2010. Every effort to collect our entitlements since then has been abortive.

“In fact, 13 people are already dead among us because they could not collect the money they were entitled to from the company. We have written to the Trade Union Congress and they mediated. Yet, Vita Malt did not do anything.”

Oyinlola, who claimed to have worked with the company for 15 years, said he was owed N5m gratuities.

Another disengaged worker, Ayadi Olusegun, said the company deliberately withheld their dues.

 “This is simply a wicked act by the management,” he added.

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Another former worker, Felix Egareri, said the company took advantage of the country’s weak labour laws.

He said, “Vita Malt is treating us this way because they know that Nigeria’s laws are not effective. Can they try something like this in the US or UK?”

Egareri said he was owed N4m.

Vita Malt’s Public Relations Officer, Olubunmi Ojo, declined comment on the matter.

He said, “I cannot speak on this matter because it’s a company issue and in fact, I was not the company’s PRO in 2010 when it all happened. So, for now, I will not say anything.”