The leading Civil Rights Advocacy group:- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITTERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to quickly intervene and stop the attempt by Nigeria’s biggest and most profitable hotel Transcrop Hilton from retrenching eighty percent of it’s work force and to deny them all their employment related rights.
Besides, the Federal government has been told to drop the minister of state for labour Mr. Festus Keyamo (SAN) as a mediator in the brewing labour crises between the management of Transcorp Hilton and the organised labour force in the hotel.
In a media statement by the RIGHTS group through its National co-ordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National media Affairs director Miss Zainab Yusuf, the Rights group accused Mr. Keyamo of enjoying a cosy relationship with the Chairman of Transcrop Hilton Mr. Tony Elumelu even as the group stated that a leaked audio of a conversation between Mr Keyamo and some management staff of the hotel has clearly showed that the minister of state is no longer neutral neither is he the fit and proper government official 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 Rights group also expressed disappointment that the minister of state for labour Mr Festus Keyamo (SAN) allegedly paid a secret visit to the chairman of Transcorp Hilton Mr. Tony Elumelu in Transcorp Hilton Abuja, even whilst he acted as a mediator in the labour related crisis between the management of Transcorp Hilton and their 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 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 said it has seen a letter sent to the original trademarks owners of Hilton international sent to Chris Nassetta the Oresidebt and CEO of Hilton Worldwide by the Labour union in the Nigerian affiliate of Transcorp Hilton titled:-“COMPLAINTS OF ILL TREATMENT, NON –ADHERENCE TO HILTON BRAND STANDARD AND ABUSE OF OFFICE, AGAINST:
THE GENERAL MANAGER, KEVIN BRETT.”
Part of it reads as follows: “We the labour leaders of the entire Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja both junior, National Union of Hotels personal Service Workers (NUHPSW) and senior, Hotel and Personal Service Staff Association (HAPSSSA) write with heavy burden and concern over the above subject matter.
Hilton is the best world known Hotel Brand, which has been sustained over the years as a result of the team member’s loyalty, commitment, dedication and professionalism in delivering world class service. Transcorp Hilton as part of the chain has also maintained the brand service standard since inception.
“You recall that 29th March, 2020 the Federal Government of Nigeria shutdown movement of all kinds in a bid to curtail the spread of COVID-19 pandemic bringing business activities almost to a halt. Despite several appeal to management for little palliatives even if it is from our 10% RESERVED SERVICE CHARGE for the team members welfare since the pandemic took everybody unaware, the GM, Kevin Brett shows little or no interest over the welfare/ wellbeing of the team.
“We are surprise to hear GM in one of our meeting informing us of the intention of management/ owners to downsize 80% of the workforce with payment of 20% of accrued severance benefit thereby neglecting the provision of our Condition of Service.
“Sir, we are aware of your position and advice to Hilton management through webinar where you stated as follow:1. Team members’ welfare should not be compromised on account of COVID -19 pandemic. 2. Tea, members should be provided with the right tools to work for optimum productivity3. Team members should be provided with tender loving care (TLC) and 4. Do not cut cost but manage all resources available both human and material resources.
“With all your advice, Kevin has continuously misinformed the owners that the hotel cannot operate above 15% for the next three years thereby encouraging their quest for downsizing of staff without considering the 1/6 globally accepted manning guide. For the past two weeks, the hotel has maintained 38% daily occupancy”. The letter was endorsed by the Branch Chairman, Branch Secretary, of HOTEL & PERSONNAL SERVICES SENIOR STAFF ASSOCIATION”.
HURIWA stated that it will be writing the management of the Transcorp Hilton hotel to educate them on why the Labour and employment rights of their staff must be fully respected since the hotel is a tremendously respected corporate body in the World.