In Lagos: Emergency workers kick over unpaid salaries

Emergency response in Lagos may soon grind to a halt following a fresh altercation between the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency Response Unit’s workers and a contracting company, Avantgarde Management Services, which the state government outsourced emergency response to.

The workers, who first made their grievances known two months ago, said after intervention by the Lagos State Government, the company reneged and owed them five months’ salaries.

Punch Metro had reported that some workers of the LRU had threatened to down tools over the five-month salary arrears, while a large number of them had reportedly stopped reporting for work.

It was gathered that the number of agents at the LRU call centre had been depleted, while calls to the 112/767 emergency numbers were now rarely picked because of the crisis in the LRU.

Punch learnt that after the workers’ protest in August at the LASEMA office at the state secretariat complex, Alausa, and the state House of Assembly, the company paid two months’ salaries to the workers out of the five months owed.

One of the workers of the LRU, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said after the payment of the two months’ salary, the company failed to pay the rest, adding that it owed the workers a cumulative of five months’ salaries.

He added that the workers’ pension and health insurance were also stopped.

Another worker accused the new Director General of LASEMA, Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, of indulging the company’s negligence.

A worker, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, accused the company of having no regards for the staff, adding that it had stopped all allowances.

When contacted by Punch, the Operations Manager of Avantgarde Management Services, Shola Ajisafe, declined to make any comment on the issue and directed Punch Metro to the LASEMA DG.

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