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Oyo Labour Unions picket Chinese company over casualisation

We are paid N600 per day —Casual workers

The Oyo State chapter of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) counterpart, on Thursday, picketed Chinese company, CNC Quarry, Ibadan, to express its displeasure at casualisation of workers, and call for the institution of workers’ union in the company.

The unions led by its NLC Secretary, Mr Kofo Ogundeji and TUC Chairman, Mr Andrew Emelieze, said the action was to protest oppression, exploitation, slavery of Nigerians in their own land by foreigners.

Speaking, Ogundeji noted investigations into the activities of the Chinese company ranging from poor wages, uncomfortable work environment to poor welfare package for workers.

The union, upon the request of the Plant Manager, Mr Bruce Shen, for time to communicate to the company’s head office, gave a 14 days ultimatum for a meeting between the two parties.

On acceding to the request for unionisation of workers of the company, Shen said, “This is just our working site. We have our head office where we can attend to all these issues that you have raised. I will communicate to our head office in Lagos. We give our workers helmets, boots but they do not use it. They prefer to wear slippers.”

In their different conversations with Nigerian Tribune, the casual workers disclosed that they received N600 per day and commenced work from 6:30 a.m till 7: p.m.

It was further observed that six casual workers are allocated to a room at the accommodation called, “Nigerian Quarters,” where the workers laid cartons on which they sleep.

One of the workers said, “We are paid N600 per day, and get an extra N100 for transport fare. However, we no more get that transport fare. Workers may be sacked right away if they fail to resume before 7:a.m, hence we usually resume at 6:30 a.m. We close between 6:p.m to 7:p.m daily. They do not care about us encountering hazards, injury while working.”

“There is no statutory off day. It is the decision of the worker to decide to make himself off by not coming to work on Sundays and would not get the pay for that day. N3,000 is deducted from our salary every month whether we make use of the accommodation or not. Getting an increase in pay is usually dependent on one’s years of service.”

“We excavate dust from the crusher and this dust endangers our health. We only occasionally get nose cover but no package to refill ourselves and enhance our health.”

Supervisor of the casual workers, Mr John Mike said it was difficult for the establishment of a union, noting that the workers were fleeting, and worked only for a few days and left.