By Sam Hart
The Committee set up by the Governor of Abia State to investigate reports of unfair practices at Inner Galaxy Steel Company Ltd have submitted its report to the Governor today.
I’d like to personally acknowledge the role of @Truthfully83 in bringing to the public domain, situations at the Company. His/her report was what spurred Government to action culminating in a thorough investigation and recommendations submitted to the Governor today.
Highlights of the Committee Report include:
1. The Abia State Government welcomes the Investment of Inner Galaxy Steel Group in the State and wishes to assure the company of its continuous support for the success of its investment in the state. 2. The Abia State Government also has a responsibility to protect its citizens and residents and would not tolerate any unfair treatment towards its citizens and residents. 1 & 2 can mutually co-exist and it is the position of the Abia State Government that while it is the position of the Abia State Government that while it welcomes investments in the state and will protect its investors, it will also insist that its citizens and residents are treated fairly by all those who invest in the state.
3. Inner Galaxy Group will continue to enjoy the support & cooperation of the Abia State Government to expand its operations within the Industrial City it is developing & the Company has the support of Government to invite more investors to establish their businesses in the State. 4. Inner Galaxy Steel Company be directed to modify its employment & termination processes with clearly spelt out terms & conditions of service & disengagement. The current system of arbitrary engagement & disengagement creates an atmosphere of uncertainty and is prone to abuse.
Inner Galaxy Steel Company should create a more robust Staff-Company and Company-Community Interface Framework that listens to the grievances of staff and people of the host communities and work out resolution modalities to ensure peaceful co-existence.
Inner Galaxy should have a robust training process where staff who handle machinery are trained regularly on safety protocols to avoid frequent injuries. The Ministry of Industries should step up her statutory role of supervising all industries in the state to ensure proactive monitoring of activities of all industries in Abia State to enforce compliance with extant laws of the state.
We also made a lot of findings but for the purposes of the genesis of the story & clarity, I share this aspect.
vi. The company did not intend for their staff to live within the company premises as they were meant to be reporting from home close-by. Due to COVID-19 Pandemic and the attendant lock-down however, they had to make emergency arrangements for staff to reside within the company as they could not be going out of the company and coming back to avoid contraction and spread of COVID-19.
vii. It is this makeshift staff accommodation arrangement, which was unacceptable by current standards, that led to the disenchantment and eventual outcry.
viii. The Company has since taken steps to provide comfort for their staff with visible improvements in infrastructure and living conditions of staff.
I state for the avoidance of doubt that the conditions at the Company as at the time of the report were true, shabby & unacceptable. The company has however since taken steps to correct the lapses & conditions have appreciably improved.
The report has succeeded in getting a better deal for staff of the company and the relevant supervisory arms of Government have been put on their toes to conduct regular proactive monitoring of activities of companies in Abia State to forestall future recurrence. Thank you all for your interest in this matter and we assure you that the recommendations will address every legitimate worry.
Sam Hart, Esq.