DANGOTE TRUCK OFFICERS PROTEST MASS SACK AND UNFAIR LABOUR PRACTICES
DANGOTE TRUCK OFFICERS PROTEST MASS SACK AND UNFAIR LABOUR PRACTICES
Workers (Truck Officers) of Dangote Cement Plc staged a peaceful protest on Thursday February 23, 2017 to the corporate head office of Dangote Group over their sack, harassment, unpaid entitlements and breach of agreements.
The workers, about 80 in number, assembled in Lagos from different parts of the country for the protest. The workers converged at Falomo Ikoyi and had a 300 meter procession before getting to the head office of the company. At the point of take-off, top management staff of Dangote Group came to meet the workers, appealed for the suspension of the protest which, according to them, would tarnish the image of the Group and instead proposed a meeting for Monday February 27, 2017. When these proposals were tabled before the generality of workers, workers agreed to the February 27 meeting but refused to shelve their protest..
Some of the placards read as follows: “Dangote used armed soldiers & police to harass workers; Dangote, pay our unpaid salaries multiplied by trucks managed; Dangote, Pay our unpaid performance bonuses now! Dangote deceived us into fraudulent scheme & unilaterally cancelled the agreement; The protest continues until Dangote meets our demands; Dangote, pay our medical allowances now! Dangote cement Plc is a slave camp etc.”
The protest terminated at the premises of Dangote Group while the elected leaders of the workers led by Abubarka Kayode and Publicity Secretary of the Campaign for Democratic and Workers Rights (CDWR), Chinedu Bosah, addressed the workers and encouraged them to be steadfast until their demands are met.
Three media outfit (Galaxy Television, Sahara Reporters and Punch newspaper) covered the protest.
The elated but angry workers promised to sustain the momentum and fight until victory is achieved.
Just as the workers were preparing for the meeting scheduled for Monday 27th of February 2017, the Director of Communications, Dangote Group, Mr. Tony Chiejile called a day before the scheduled day to inform that the meeting had been canceled because workers went on protest. Hence, workers are responding with a plan to embark on another protest to the Lagos State House of Assembly armed with a petition.
Below is the leaflet jointly issued and circulated by the Forum of Dangote Cement Truck Officers and the Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR)
DANGOTE CEMENT PLC ENGAGES IN UNFAIR LABOUR PRACTICES AND VICTIMIZATION OF WORKERS
We Demand Adequate Compensation and Payment of all Entitlements to all Truck Officers
It was with public fanfare when Dangote Group announced that it would empower about 28,000 Nigerians and had procured 7000 trucks under an scheme arrangement known as OWN YOUR VEHICLE/TRUCK OFFICER SCHEME but 9 months down the line after about 800 Truck Officers were recruited, it has turned out to be a ruse. Not only did the Dangote Cement Management violate relevant sections of the scheme agreement (an agreement prepared by Dangote Cement Plc); it has now abandoned the whole agreement in less than a year. This act is similar to the fate of Graduate Truck Drivers who were recruited in 2013 and were sacked in less than one year. This is one of anti-labour practices of Dangote Group that “use workers and dump them” after massive exploitation.
The process of employment started in April 2015 and ended in May 2016 when most of the workers started work. In June 2016 the management issued another employment letter which further validated and complemented the scheme agreement.
About 800 workers were employed under the scheme and 400 each were deployed to Ibese in Ogun State and Obajana in Kogi State. The agreement was to pay a N60, 000 monthly salary and a performance bonus of up to the sum of N90, 000 per month. The truck officers worked hard to resuscitate over 500 non-operational trucks, made them productive again, improved and sustained the distribution of Dangote Cement to different parts of the country.
Article 4.2 of the Scheme Agreement emphatically states that “the Truck Officer shall manage one truck at any given time” but workers in Ibese were forced to manage 4 trucks and later increased to 6 trucks while workers in Obajana were forced to manage 7 trucks. While Dangote Cement forced the workers to manage more trucks, it refused to increase the salary and performance bonus to reflect the number of trucks being managed. The OWN YOUR VEHICLE/TRUCK OFFICER SCHEME was ostensibly designed to have workers manage the truck and own the truck after meeting a set mileage of 400,000km. And this contract has been violated and abandoned. This indicates clearly that the advertisement, the OWN YOUR VEHICLE/TRUCK OFFICER SCHEME and the employment amount to fraudulent inducement and misrepresentation of the truck officers in violation of Section 45 (1) of the Labour Act.
The Dangote Cement consolidated its ruthlessness when the management summoned workers to the training hall in Ibese on Saturday February 4, 2017 after militarizing the whole place and forced the workers to submit their ID cards and sign letters of disengagement. This ignoble act was carried out by management staff, armed police and military men. This is the height of workplace brutality and insensitivity towards workers who have worked diligently for 9 months. The work load was increased in December 2016 under a policy termed “special duty” and it entails working for 12 hours day or night at the central unit even on public holiday without additional pay.
Virtually all the workers left their respective employments to participate in the scheme because of the inducement to own a truck. Now, Dangote has thrown all these into the dustbin. The fact that Aliko Dangote is the richest man in Africa comes with a price which entails engaging in anti-labour practices, paying poor wages to many workers, harassing and intimidating workers, unilaterally violating agreements, denying workers entitlement due to them, denying workers the rights to join union etc. Hence, it is unfair for Dangote Cement Plc to unilaterally vitiate the contract willingly entered with the workers in a demeaning manner.
We condemn in strong terms these anti-labour practices being perpetrated by Dangote Cement Plc which has become stock-in-trade of the companies that make-up the Dangote Group. We call on the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and National Union of Chemical, Footwear, Rubber, Leather and Non-Metallic Employees (NUCFLANMPE) and pro-labour organizations to wade into this matter with the aim of defending workers interest.
Hence, we demand the following:
- Immediate payment of all entitlements not limited to payment of salaries in multiple of the number of trucks managed; Payment of performance bonus in multiple of trucks managed;
- Payment of medical allowance of 30% of annual salary;
- Dangote Cement should meet the pension requirement in line with the 2014 Pension Act;
- Dangote Cement should immediately hand over the trucks to the workers for ownership as contained in the original agreement of the OWN YOUR VEHICLE/TRUCK OFFICER SCHEME.
- That for causing us huge personal costs of relocation and other economic loss, we demand compensation/damages be paid to each Truck Officer.
- Aliko Dangote should end all forms of anti-labour practices and victimization of workers.
This leaflet is issued by the Forum of Dangote Cement Truck Officers and the Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR). Telephone: 08055359822, 08098284000.