Workers in the steel sector have urged the federal government to immediately set machinery in motion to pay the N7.4 billion gratuities and pension arrears of some of their retired colleagues.
The workers, who made the demand in a position paper made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ajaokuta on Tuesday, said the amount had been outstanding since 2005.
In the position paper sent to the government through the Minister of Mine and Steel Development, Mr Musa Sada, the workers said that N5.2 billion of the amount was the outstanding severance benefit of their colleagues disengaged in 2005 by the Delta Steel Company, Warri.
The paper represents the joint position of the two major unions in the industry; Iron and Steel Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ISSAN) and the Steel and Engineering Workers Union of Nigeria (SEWUN) on the protracted crisis plaguing the steel sector.
Mr Otori Saliu, the president of ISSAN signed the paper on behalf of the unions. It stated that the balance of N2.2 billion was the accumulated pension bene Ajaokuta Steel Company Ltd. According to the workers, the non-payment of the money has continue to be a source of friction between them and government.
The unions also expressed concern over the state ovf Jos and Osogbo steel rolling mills, lamenting that the core investors in the companies had failed to inject life into them since 2005.