Ex-Workers Seek NASS’ Intervention In Resuscitating Jos Steel Rolling Mill

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Former staff of Jos Steel Rolling Mills have sought the intervention of the National Assembly in the operation of the liquidated company.
The former employees of the steel company staged a  peaceful protest in Jos,  capital of Plateau state when members of the the House of Representatives Committee on Privatization visited the state for oversight function, to drive home their demands.
They also requested the federal lawmakers to  look into the non-payment of their outstanding benefits.
The Company  has become a shadow of its former self as the Rolling Mill which had in time past developed indigenous manpower, reduced steel importation, provided employment for over 400 persons before 2005  before the staff were laid off as a  result of the federal government initiated privatization policy had its last production in 2004.
Comrade Maxwell Cirman, Chairman of the Iron and Steel Senior Staff Association said the liquidation of the company to private individual has brought about untold hardship and unemployment as staff were thrown out of their residential houses which was meant to be leased out to them in accordance to the monetization policy.
He alleged that the investor has rented and mortgaged the housing estate to source for fund as a means of income and even sold out some equipment which were tested and ascertained to be in good shape as at when the company was handed over to the Ukrainian firm.
“From all indications, as evidenced by the recent discoveries of orchestrated vandalization of the mills, looting of the laboratory equipment,contact with Katsina and Oshogbo Mills to clear the stock of billets which the Ukranians have brought for production,kick-off the leasing/selling of the club house and guest houses situated at Tudun Wada Jos and the general tendency towards criminal degradation of the Mill, Zuma interest is just to corner and milk the estates even as the rightful owners of the quarter have been denied their due.
“The five-year severance of the workers bastardly paid by the liquidator in the ratio of 75% and 25% respectively instead of the total severance package computed by HR which was eight and half years severance,”Cirman stated.
He insisted that the workers were short changed as revealed by the computation of another professional, A. D. Sam and Associates.
The chairman lamented that while this unfortunate scenario plays out in JSRC, Dana and Kaura Steel are thriving and making steady progress saying  Dana has built and commissioned a 180,000 tons billet plant at two Billion Naira, completely modernized its mill, rehabilitated its ten megawatt captive power plant and engaged as at 2009 207 full time workers and 63 others, Kaura has carried out complete modernization of its mill too.
He said the liquidator had been giving flimsy verbal excuses that funds were not adequate to pay the full severance amounting to the breach of the court judgment paragraph 1 column 2 number 4 which stipulates that “where the assets of the company are insufficient, BPE or the Principal shall source or take up responsibility”.
Cirman therefore called on the House of repyresentatives committee in charge of privatization to enforce justice by ensuring that the remaining severance as calculated by HR is paid to the workers, that government includes workers into the federal pension scheme and that the housing quarters that were maintained from workers’ earnings for 24 years be given back to them as part of the monetization policy of government.
The chairman also called for the revisit of the irregularities in the sale of the company, making reference to the clause that stipulates that contract agreement be revoked in the event of failure of an investor to use the company for a maximum of five years.
He further stressed,:”Having failed woefully for the past ten years, since acquiring the assets of JSRC to live up to the federal government expectation avowed objectives of breathing fresh lives into the ailing company through privatization, it is bewildering to all meaning stakeholders that Zuma Steel has continued to enjoy express cover of the BPE which by all public expectation should have long revoked this transaction.”
According to him, by this brazen act the BPE has pathetically failed the entire nation, particularly the north central zone and the immediate community, where the company is located by denying them the potential benefits accrued to the catchment area from a viable steel company, but has made absolute caricature of the privatization policy of the federal government as it affect JSRC.
Speaking to LEADERSHIP Sunday, one of the staff who did want his name in print said he was employed in 2006 after the privatization,adding that they were only paid for six month after working for 11 month.
According to him, there were abaut 70 staff that were employed in 2006 but  56 of them had died as a result of illness because they didn’t have money to take care of themselves or attend hospital when they fell sick.
“Since 2007 I have been placed on half salary, but now the half salary is not even coming . The management has not given us termination letters, so the remaining staff who are alive still consider themselves as members of staff.  We urge the management to pay us our  backlog of salaries to enable us take care of our self and family.”
But  when contacted, Mr. Charles Enyizu, the administration officer of Zuma Steel Rolling Mill denied the alleged vandalization of the Mill as being speculated by the senior staff.
“In his words, “ those peddling such allegation are bunch of disgruntled elements.

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