The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene and stop attempts by Transcrop Hilton hotel from retrenching eighty percent of its workforce to deny them all their employment-related rights.
The rights group made the appeal in a statement by its National Co-ordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf.
Huriwa accused Festus Keyamo who was a mediator in the brewing labour crises between the management of Transcorp Hilton and the organised labour force of enjoying a cosy relationship with the Chairman of Transcrop Hilton Mr. Tony Elumelu.
The group alleged that leaked audio of a conversation between Mr Keyamo and some management staff of the hotel had clearly showed that the minister of state is no longer neutral and is neither fit to negotiate any kind of accord between the management and the organised labour force in the hotel.
“There is a trending audio recording online which is a conversation between the minister of state labour Mr. Festus Keyamo allegedly asking the Hilton management to proceed with an arbitrary decision on denying the staff who would be thrown out of employment due to the effects of COVID -19 and implement a disengagement payment settlements that violate significantly the extant contractual conditions of service signed between the staff and Transcrop Hilton.”
The group also expressed disappointment that Keyamo allegedly paid a secret visit to the chairman of Transcorp, Mr. Tony Elumelu in in Abuja, even whilst he acted as a mediator in the labour related crisis between the management of the hotel and staff.
“We are asking the minister of labour Mr. Chris Ngige to take up the task of resolving all the knotty discord between Transcorp Hilton management/owners and the staff so the entire labour related contractual rights of the workers are paid to them should Transcrop Hilton makes good the plan to disengage a large numbers of the workforce.
“For us, we think, the Nigerian government should do everything to stop Transcorp Hilton management from proceeding with the despicable plan to throw hundreds of Nigerians out of EMPLOYMENT at a time of extreme financial hardships. If on the other hand the management insists on proceeding with the job cuts, then those to be affected must be paid all their entitlements as captured under their employment contracts including redundancy, retirement and service charges’ benefits so that those who still have fifteen years to reach the statutory retirement age of 55 years can as well find other means of livehood.”
“We urge the management to play the game by the rules. The Transcorp Hilton has remained profitable going by statistical data showing yearly incomes as follows: On years Generated revenue -: 2010:- N13. 900. 000.000
2011:- N 14.000.000.000
2012:- N12. 900. 000.000
2013:- N14. 900. 000.000
2014:- N13. 700. 000.000
2015:- N13. 600. 000.000
2016:- N14. 800. 000.000
2017:- N13. 300. 000.000
2018:- N16. 600. 000.000
2019:- N19. 500. 000.000″.
The Rights group added that it has seen a letter sent to the original trademarks owners of Hilton international and the President and CEO of Hilton Worldwide by the Labour union in the Nigerian affiliate of Transcorp Hilton.