Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM

CDWR CALL ON DURA PACK MANAGEMENT TO END ONGOING VICTIMISATION OF WORKERS


Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR)

CDWR CALL ON DURA PACK MANAGEMENT TO END ONGOING VICTIMISATION OF WORKERS

DURA PACK WORKERS SHOULD EMBARK ON STRUGGLES FOR BETTER WORKING CONDITIONS AND THE RECALL OF ILLEGALLY SACKED/LOCKED-OUT WORKERS

Dura Pack is one of numerous Chinese owned companies in Nigeria which are run like slave camps. The company, which produces different types of packs/nylons, has about 500 workers. Since it began operation in Nigeria in 2007 all workers irrespective of categories are casuals with no letter of appointment. The workers operate in a very inhuman condition and are brutally denied rights to form or belong to a trade union. All efforts by the workers to form a union have been crushed. Yet, given the poor condition of service and working condition that obtain in the company, there is dire need for a union wherein workers would be organized to protect their rights to decent job and dignity of labour.

There is no respect for Nigerian labour laws while the Ministry of Labour turns a blind eye. For instance, they work 12 hours a day. Worse still, it is a crime to sit down or talk to partner during the working hours! The basic salary is about N6, 400 per month, though there are allowances like transport, housing and overtime that could make the pay to be between N24, 000 and N25, 000. If workers go on sick leave, it would be deemed by the management as being absent from work, and thereby forfeit their pay for the period. Worse still, the company does not take full responsibility of workers that have industrial accidents in the course of work.

We recall that on 17th April 2013, Mr. Kenneth, a worker, died due to lack of safety work tools which is an instance of terrible working conditions at the company. The death led to a 24-hour strike, and management had to promise to look into most of demands raised by the workers. The management has however reneged on the promise. Even the safety materials, whose provision is the only item of demands the management claims to have met, are not adequate.

Besides, it remains abracadabra how management arrives at a net salary for workers since no documentation known to workers are kept. For instance, workers do not receive pay slip that itemizes how their salaries are arrived at. Hence, it gives room for all kinds of unverifiable deductions and manipulation that shortchange workers. It is still in doubt if management remits tax deducted and amount deducted as workers do not have tax clearance certificate or identification number. This also goes for the deduction of pension which is shrouded in secrecy while the company’s 7.5% contribution is in doubt.

Workers are equally agitating for pay increment which has been ignored by the management. The management of Dura Pack like other companies has always capitalized on the high rate of unemployment in Nigeria to hire and fire at will.

The workers are wantonly and unlawfully fired; worse still without compensation. To circumvent the law and avoid payment of compensation, the company asks the workers whom they want to sack to “voluntarily” resign or sign a resignation letter already prepared by the management. Any worker that refuses this outrageous order would not be paid his last salary and be locked out of the company.

The Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR) calls on the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and industrial unions especially the National Union of Chemical, Footwear, Rubber, Leather and Non Metallic Products Employees (NUCFRLANMPE) to intervene in the plight of the workers of Dura Pack. We call for picketing of the company and many others that violate Nigerian labour laws, subject workers to inhuman treatment and deny workers rights to trade union, living wage and decent condition.

By and large, the struggle to fight for better working condition is in the hands of workers who must engage the management in struggles and call for solidarity and intervention of trade unions and pro-labour organisation. We call on the workers to get organized. How organized the workers are can determine the success of the struggle. It is instructive to stress however that sustaining any victory is determined by the kind of government in power. The current government, at all levels, is pro-rich and pro-employers. This is the reason why workers interests are undermined and labour laws are violated with impunity. For instance, the Ministry of Labour is aware of the terrible condition in many workplaces/factories including Dura Pack but has refused to take action against employers.

Hence, we call on workers to join pro-workers’ organisations like Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) and CDWR. Joining DSM and CDWR gives workers a platform to agitate for unionization and a fighting trade union, which consistently and uncompromisingly defend the welfare of workers, where there is one. DSM and CDWR also offer a workers’ platform to discuss and work towards a working peoples’ political and economic alternative.

CDWR DEMANDS

1. Increment in salary to be negotiated with workers and agreed upon
2. Regularisation of workers through issuance of letter of employment to all workers and agree with workers on a new condition of service.
3. Well structured and documentation of salary including payment of workers with pay slips
4. Immediate and unconditional recalls of sacked/locked out workers
5. An end to victimization of workers
6. Adequate safety tools to be provided for all workers
7. All workers must have a right to proceed on annual leave or sick leave without loss of pay.
Chinedu Bosah
Publicity Secretary
E-mail: campaignworkers@yahoo.co.uk