Ex-staff Drags Costain to Court over Non payment of Benefits

Mr. Daniel Atulukwu, an ex-staff of Costain (West Africa) Plc, has dragged his former employer before the National Industrial Court, Lagos over alleged nonpayment of his pension benefits.

In his statement of claim filed against the firm by his counsel Mr. Ogedi Ogu, the 44-year-old Atulukwu (claimant), is praying for a declaration by the court that the nonpayment of his pension, which part of the money was deducted from his salary from March 2008 to May 2012 by Costain (West Africa) Plc (defendant), is fraudulent.

The claimant averred that he was employed by the defendant on March 20, 2008, on contract as a foreman welder, and was placed on a basic salary of N55, 000 monthly. He stated that on August 12, 2009, the defendant introduced to him one Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers Limited for a purported contributory pension scheme.

According to the claimant, the terms of the employment provided that either party, who wished to terminate the contract, must give one month notice to that effect, or a month’s salary in lieu of notice.

He submitted that during the period of his employment with the defendant, monthly deductions were made from his salary, as part of his contribution to the pension scheme on the assurance that he will collect his pension benefits while leaving the company.

Atulukwu stated in his claim: “On May 2, 2012, the defendant unexpectedly terminated my appointment with effect from the same date, without notice and without the agreed one month basic salary in lieu of such notice.

“Upon termination of my employment, I then sought to draw from my pension fund, but was shocked to find out that the defendant never remitted any of the deductions made on my emoluments.

“My pension managers informed me that no such deductions and contributions were remitted to my retirement savings account by the defendant.

“On May 15, 2013, I went to the defendant to demand for payment of my pension and one month salary in lieu of notice of contract termination, but the defendant vehemently refused to pay same.

“I thereafter, employed the services of ‘Messrs the Source Chambers’, who served a letter of demand on the defendant, but to my utmost amazement, the defendant has till date, held on to my entitlements”.

Consequent upon the denial/refusal of the defendant to pay him, the claimant is therefore, claiming against the defendant, the sum of N55, 000 being one month basic salary in lieu of notice and the sum of N260, 000 as general damages for inconveniences and cost of filing the suit.

Furthermore, he is claiming the sum of N541, 000, being deductions made by the defendant under the pension scheme, with interest at the rate of 21 per cent from June 2012, until judgement is delivered and same interest on the judgement sum, until it is fully liquidated. A date was yet to be fixed for hearing of the suit.

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