14 Tears, as work­ers of closed tex­tile coy pray over en­ti­tle­ments 15 years on

Weekly Trust - - News - Maryam Ah­madu-Suka, Kaduna

Former work­ers of closed tex­tiles, un­der the aus­pices of the Coali­tion of Closed Un­paid Tex­tile Work­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, Kaduna, in con­junc­tion with As­so­ci­a­tion of Re­tired Tex­tile Work­ers Wel­fare, con­verged on the premises of the Kaduna Tex­tile Limited to pray over the non-pay­ment of their ter­mi­nal ben­e­fits, gra­tu­ity and the re-open­ing of the mills promised them by the Buhari ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The Chief Imam of the Kakuri Cen­tral Mosque, Malam Shuaibu Adamu and Evan­gial­ist Felix Un­uo­mogwe of­fered prayers in both Is­lamic and Chris­tian faiths re­spec­tively.

Wi­d­ows of some dead work­ers, ob­vi­ously frus­trated by their plight, got burst into tears as the prayers were go­ing on. Mem­bers had to plead with Mrs Ce­cilia John, in par­tic­u­lar, to stop cry­ing.

The work­ers, who have been pray­ing for the pay­ment of their en­ti­tle­ments for over 15 years, said the dis­agree­ment be­tween Union Bank and the Arewa Tex­tiles man­age­ment which was closed down in 2004 with late Paul Achimugu’s fam­ily as ma­jor stake­hold­ers, has led to the death of over 430 work­ers and their fam­ily mem­bers.

While com­mend­ing the re­cent agree­ment en­tered into by the fed­eral govern­ment with a Turk­ish firm, Sur In­ter­na­tional Tex­tiles to re­vive the KTL, the work­ers urged the govern­ment to en­sure that the com­pany starts pro­duc­tion soon.

The chair­man of the as­so­ci­a­tion, Com­rade Wor­dam Simdik, ap­pealed to the 19 North­ern Gov­er­nor’s Fo­rum (NGF), the New Nige­rian Devel­op­ment Com­pany (NNDC) and the board of di­rec­tors of the KTL to, as a mat­ter of ur­gency, pay work­ers their ter­mi­nal ben­e­fits owed them since the clo­sure of the com­pany.

“We have lost 750 KTL work­ers and fam­ily mem­bers with­out re­ceiv­ing their ter­mi­nal ben­e­fits but we will con­tinue to pray that this no­ble agree­ment to re­vamp KTL will not fail, and that the legacy of the Sar­dauna will bounce back.

“The NGF, un­der the lead­er­ship of Kashim Shet­tima should pro­tect the legacy of Sir Ah­madu Bello and re-open the tex­tile so that our teem­ing youths and women can be gain­fully in­volved in or­der to re­duce crime and crim­i­nal­ity.”

The Se­nior Man­ager Com­mer­cial, KTL, Malam Aminu Ab­d­u­al­lahi, as­sured the work­ers that work will not com­mence in the mills un­til all ter­mi­nal ben­e­fits of work­ers are paid.

“I am al­ready 60, just like many of us here. Even if the mills re­open today, I am not in­ter­ested in work­ing here ex­cept to get em­ploy­ment for our chil­dren. All we want is for our en­ti­tle­ment to be paid. We have iden­ti­fied some key prop­er­ties and we have asked the govern­ment to sell the prop­er­ties and use the pro­ceeds to pay our en­ti­tle­ment but they re­fused.

“We have as­set back­ing and we have no cause for alarm, but this com­pany will not re­open un­til our ben­e­fits are paid so that a fresh set of work­ers can be em­ployed to run the mills,” he said.

Our cor­re­spon­dent gath­ered that Poly Fiber, Su­per­tex and UNTL paid all the en­ti­tle­ments of their work­ers when they closed down while oth­ers in­clud­ing Fine­tex, Nor­tex, Arewa Tex­tile and KTL did not pay the gra­tu­ity of their work­ers.

As part of ef­forts to re­vive the KTL, its own­ers, the 19 North­ern states gov­er­nors, were said to have con­sti­tuted a com­mit­tee made up of five gov­er­nors headed by the gov­er­nor of Kwara State, to work out modal­i­ties for bring­ing back the com­pany to life.

The com­pa­nies are faced with chal­lenges in­clud­ing power, ob­so­lete equip­ment, in­debted to banks and other sundry is­sues, which have been im­ped­i­ment to their smooth op­er­a­tions.

Some years ago, the fed­eral govern­ment ap­proved the re­lease of N24 bil­lion for the re­sus­ci­ta­tion of ail­ing tex­tiles in Kaduna and another N15 bil­lion for the Kaduna In­de­pen­dent Power Project (IPP) as part of ef­forts to re­vive the tex­tiles, which used to be the largest em­ployer of labour in Kaduna. De­spite this in­ter­ven­tion, the tex­tiles are still co­matose.

Maryam Ah­madu-Suka

Tex­tiles women pray­ing for the unity of Nige­ria and pay­ment of tex­tiles worker ter­mi­nal ben­e­fit and gra­tu­ity. PHOTOS

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