By Boluwaji Obahopo
LOKOJA—THE industrial dispute between Kogi State government and 142 of its workers, who have been on compulsory leave without pay since 2011, has taken a new turn with the workers dragging the government before the National Industrial Court, NIC.
Documents made available in Lokoja, yesterday, showed that the case was filed before the Abuja division of NIC by the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees, AUPCTRE.
The affected workers were with the Kogi State Transport Company Ltd., when they were summarily asked to proceed on compulsory leave without pay since June 30, 2011.
The circular conveying the government’s decision was signed by the General Manager of the company, Mr. Augustine Tokula.
Other defendants in the suit filed before the court on February 7 by their counsel, Mr. Aduojo Abah, are the state Attorney-General and the Kogi State Transport Company Limited.
Abah, in the statement of claim, is asking the court to compel the state government to pay N388.4 million to the 142 workers, being arrears of their salaries and allowances from August 2011 to December 2016.
Abah is also seeking the court’s order to compel the state government to pay N4.8 million monthly to the workers with effect from January 2017 till the final determination of the suit.
He also requested the court to compel the defendants to immediately allow the workers to resume their duties in the transport company, declaring that their employment still subsists and can only be terminated by strict compliance with extant labour laws.
Apart from these reliefs, Abah is demanding N10 million as damages for his clients from the defendants. All the defendants have 14 days to respond to the complaints lodged against them.