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Former employees sue NITEL

22 March 2013, 11:06

Abuja - Eleven former employees of Nigerian Telecommunications Plc (NITEL) have sued the company at the National Industrial Court for alleged non-payment of their entitlements after disengagement.

The claimants, who were employed by NITEL as drivers in 2001, told the court on Thursday in Abuja that they were disengaged in 2006 but re-engaged in 2007.

``We were re-engaged until 2010 when our employment was finally terminated,'' the former employees said.

They told the court that after the general disengagement of NITEL staff in 2006, drivers and security men were asked to stay back at their duty posts.

The claimants alleged that their employment with the defendant between 2007 and 2010 was not based on any other contract as alleged by the defendant.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that they are praying the court to order the defendant to pay their terminal benefits between 2007 and 2010 to them.

The claimants are also praying the court to declare that they were not contract staff of the defendant during the period but permanent members of staff.

One of the claimants, Matthew Ahmed, told the court during cross-examination that they did not sign any contract with the defendant in 2007 as purported in its statement of defence.

He also said the contract agreement allegedly signed by the claimants was a column of a document they signed for their salaries owed them by the defendant.

Ahmed, who was led in evidence by the group’s counsel, Joseph Adejoh, also alleged that the content of the document was not shown to them before they signed it.

 ``We were told that the document was for our salaries,’’ he said.

The defence counsel, Ammeh Ode, argued that the claimants signed an agreement that terminated their employment with the defendant in 2010.

Ode further argued that by virtue of that agreement, the claimants were no longer entitled to any terminal benefit from the defendant.

The presiding judge, Justice Maureen Esowe, later adjourned the case to April 22 for continuation of hearing.


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