UPDATE OF THE STRUGGLES OF SACKED WORKERS OF ENL AND DANGOTE PLC FOR UNPAID ENTITLEMENTS
By Davy Fidel, DSM Ajegunle
The National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN), Ikoyi, Lagos has fixed Thursday February 20, 2020 for the judgement in the case of the ENL dock workers; and December 4/5 (Weds/Thurs), 2019 for the second phase of hearing of Dangote Plc, concerning the sacked 800 Dangote Truck Officers. Apparently, for a lot of dock workers who were in court, hearing a day set aside for the judgement was a way forward.
On Thursday 21 November, 2019 both Toluwani Adebiyi (Dock workers lawyer) and Amie Oge (ENL lawyer) adopted their final written addresses. Both lawyers presented their arguments of the case(s) that has lasted for more than two years in Court. The workers in the past two years have been dogged in the fight for the company to settle their 10 years unpaid entitlements.
In the same day, Dangote Truck Officers had their own case for the hearing. Toluwani Adebiyi also represents the sacked workers. The hearing took place with a “cross examination” of Mrs Kemi, who represented the 800 sacked workers, in the witness box answering 15 to 20 questions thrown to her by the Dangote Plc lawyer. Questions like their salaries, pensions etc. were asked. Replies were given by Kemi on why the company sacked them. More importantly, she also talked about the refusal to pay the agreed entitlements. 4/5 December, 2019 has been set aside for Dangote Plc witness to appear for cross examination
The struggle concerns a breach of agreement by Dangote Plc. In May 2016 when Dangote employed the workers, who are ruck officers, the agreement with them was that after a particular period when they had attained a certain level of productivity, the officers would automatically own the truck. The truck officers were paid a monthly salary of N60, 000 per month. However, Dangote, because of maintaining its profit index, decided to breach the agreement, which angered the truck officers, therefore leading to a protest.
Out of the 800 truck officers sacked, only about 85 were in court to give solidarity and organized a demonstration to politically air their view on the matter, for Dangote to pay the agreement demand.
In the same vein, out of the 688 disengaged dock workers since March 2016, only 60 of them were in court too to chant solidarity and give support to their counsel. The disengaged workers sole demand has been that ENL Consortium should pay them the agreed salaries of N33, 000 bi-annual 10% signed by the tripartite bodies of MWUN, NIMASA and NPA in May 20, 2008. This is in addition to other entitlements since they were employed in 2006 after the Obasanjo led PDP administration concessioned and privatized the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA).
The Campaign for Democratic and Workers Rights (CDWR), formed by members of Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM), has been solidarizing with the 688 disengaged dock workers and 800 sacked Dangote truck officers since the very beginning of their struggles. Outside this, CDWR has also been campaigning for an end to casualization and all anti-labour sharp practices.
In the spirit of building a campaign to end casualization, outsourcing, anti-labour sharp practices and respect of workers democratic rights to unionise, CDWR call on socialists, trade unionists, and labour activists, to give solidarity and political support to the ongoing legal battle of these sacked and disengaged workers for their employers to pay all benefits entitled to them.
Most importantly, the CDWR uses this medium to call on trade unions and workers to initiate struggles and campaigns against casualization and outsourcing of jobs. They should also struggle for better wage, better working and living condition, and also importantly, for the full implementation of N30, 000 national minimum wage. The CDWR charges the NLC, TUC and ULC to declare a day of action to demand an end to casualization, contract staffing and outsourcing of jobs and the implementation of the N30, 000 minimum wage with protest, picketing and rallies.