Flouting Labour Laws: Grooming Microfinance sacks staff, refused to pay over N27.44m benefits - NATIONAL TRUMPET


Monday, March 22, 2021

Flouting Labour Laws: Grooming Microfinance sacks staff, refused to pay over N27.44m benefits

...I was deprived of annual leave for 12years - Ex-staff
...EFCC, FIRS urged to investigate firm’s activities over fraud, tax evasion

The Grooming Center Microfinance Services which is said to be sponsored by MicroRate has been alleged to be involved in a bridge of contract and anti-labour practices that worth more than N27.446 million.

Nigeria labour law under the terms and conditions of employment (cap C) indicates the Redundancy column, which stated that the employer shall use his best endeavours to negotiate redundancy payments to any discharged workers who are not protected by regulations made.

It also provided regulations, generally or in particular cases for the compulsory payment of Redundancy Allowances on the termination of a worker's employment because of his redundancy.

The aforementioned labour laws, however, not adhered to by Grooming Center Microfinance Services, a leading micro-financing firm in Nigeria, as it flouted the Nigerian labour practices by sacking many of its workers without payment of stipulated due benefits since June 2020.

In our fact findings, we discovered that letters sent to the Grooming Microfinance firm by the Law Office of Ponle Adeoye, Legal Practitioners showed that Mrs Olufunke Akinrefon, Onome Mensah, Idanweka Titilayo and Ojo Misilat have been deprived of redundancy benefits accruable to them for no fewer than 9 months.

Consequently, calculations of some figures contained in some documents from the firm’s human resources, showed that “Idanweka Titilayo is entitled to the sum of N 5,042,332.49 ( Five million, Forty-Two Thousand, three hundred and thirty-two Naira, forty Nine Kobo; Funke Akinrefon is entitled to N12,547,436.56,  ( Twelve Million, Five hundred and Forty-Seven thousand, Four hundred and thirty-six Naira fifty-six Kobo) Ojo Misilat N4,856,876.38 ( Four million Eight hundred and fifty-six thousand, eight hundred and seventy-six Naira, Thirty-Eight Kobo ), while Onome Mensah's is estimated to be over N5Million only, amounting to N27,446,645.43.

Meanwhile, the final letter after a series of letters sent to the firm demanding for above unpaid benefits to the aforementioned names by the Law firm, " dated 15th October 2020 and 27th November 2020 respectively, which were received and acknowledged by the Company stated, " You have failed, refused and neglected to respond to the said letters in respect of all our clients stated above, we hereby further demand for our clients' entitlement for all the four ex-staff in your company.

"You are hereby given 48hours from receipt of this letter to pay the sum indebted to our clients. NOTE: failure to comply with the instruction of our client by paying the sum demand by our clients shall leave us with no other option to seek legal redress in court and further demanding for damages”, it stated.

Speaking to newsmen on behalf of three other concerned sacked staff members said, "for close to 12 years that  I worked for the firm, I had never observed an annual leave, also the company has been lying to be a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) to the Federal Government because of the huge amount of the tax they will pay, even while deducting taxes from all the workers.

“They didn't give us a tax certificate as evidence of remittance to the government but always sent the graphic presentation they deducted from our salaries as taxpayers.

“This is the more reason why Federal Inland Revue Service (FIRS) and antigraft agency, EFCC, need to investigate the organization over fraud because they had just started microfinance bank three years ago, while they had been operating as same for over twelve years but lied to the government and carry out the same activities of being an NGO".

All efforts to get the firm’s side of the story proved abortive, as enquiry sent to the official mail of the company has not been responded to for over two weeks.

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