National President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mr Abdulwaheed Odusile, has called on the owners of Independent Newspapers Limited (INL), the publishers of Daily, Saturday and Sunday Independent, to immediately rescue the establishment from the mismanagement of the company led by the current Managing Director, Mr Ted Iwere.
He made the call on Monday while addressing NUJ and National Union of Production Publishing, Paper Products Workers (NUPPPPROW) members at a rally to protest the over 23 months salaries arrears at the premises of INL.
The workers were protesting unpaid arrears, non-remittance of pension and tax deducted from salaries, and the withholding of over N4 million cooperative contributions as well as unjustified demotion, among others.
Odusile, accompanied by the Lagos State Chairman of NUJ, Mr Deji Elumoye, and other state executives regretted the insensitivity of Iwere to the workers’ plight cum investment of the publishers of INL titles.
“NUJ no longer have business with Ted Iwere. He has committed criminal offence by not remitting deducted taxes and pension. It is for the anti-graft agencies to take necessary actions immediately. The law must take its cause.
“We were shocked by the irresponsible action of the MD, who rather than addressing the demands of the workers, shut down the establishment. Our desire is for INL to survive. To that, we are committed. That is why we will not welcome any discussion with the MD except another body put in place to represent the interest of the owners of the company.
“Iwere was fooling himself thinking he could blackmail the workers to submission. He has demonstrated gross incompetence, therefore, in the interest of the survival of the company, he should be relieved of his post because he has brought colossal damage to the establishment” Odusile said.
Corroborating the NUJ President, the National Zonal Secretary of National Union of Production Publishing Paper Products Workers (NUPPPPROW), Mr Peter Okeowo said, “the arrest and prosecution of Mr Iwere is long overdue. He must be brought to book. He has failed as manager. He has been chased out of the company several times, if he has any dignity left in him, he should eat the humble pie and resign.
“The INL under him has been retrogressing. We are appealing to the owners of the business to show him the way out because he has no interest of both the workers and the publishers at heart.