GX FOOD LIMITED: Workers remain resolute and steadfast amidst intimidation by management
Appeal for more international and national solidarity
By Abbey Trotsky
GX Foods workers approached the Campaign for Democratic and Workers Rights (CDWR) branch in Oyo State to intervene in the attacks on their working conditions in April 2020. Since then, CDWR comrades in solidarity have played major roles in the struggle. GX Foods Limited, Ibadan, is allegedly owned by Senator Abiola Ajimobi, immediate past governor of Oyo State.
The issues are: (1) indiscriminate sack of workers without notice or payment in lieu; (2) about 50% arbitrary deductions of workers’ salaries between June and December 2019 without prior notification or agreement; (3) workers were forced to embark on leave without documentation or commitment for the payment of monthly salary amongst other anti-labour practices. Workers alleged that management also plans to sack workers without compensation and gratuity.
As a result of the CDWR interventions and pressure, two meetings were convoked but no resolution was reached because management wanted to determine the outcome. Management’s only defense was that it had no capacity to meet the financial obligation arising from workers’ demands, which is untenable. After the meeting, management began intimidating workers, particularly those playing leading roles. For instance, some of the workers who were invited to resume work in May 2020 were arrested on a trumped charge of stealing cables, and now two leading workers’ comrades (Adegoke Ayobami and Quazim Olakunle) have been served letters from two different lawyers demanding a retraction of an article that was critical of the management anti-labour policies and was circulated on social media by workers or be sued for libel. This new intimidation is instigated by Babatunde Arowosegbe, General Manager of GX Foods Ltd, and is demanding N5 million compensation.
Despite management subterfuge and intimidation, workers are not deterred and have doubled their commitment towards the struggle. Hence, workers’ demands are the following:
(1) Immediate payment of all outstanding salary arrears from June 2019 to March 2020 as a result of illegal deductions;
(2) Payment of full salary for the months of April and May 2020;
(3) Issuance of fresh term of employment that will conform to the labour act;
(4) Unconditional withdrawal of letters threatening to sue comrade Ayobami Adegoke and Quazim Olakunle by lawyers of GX Foods acting on behalf of the General Manager.
CDWR commends workers, activists, socialists who have participated in the ongoing protest campaign. But against the renewed attempt to intimidate workers, more national and international solidarity actions of workers, youths and their organisations are needed to achieve the demands of workers.
Hence, CDWR appeals for more solidarity actions including sending of protest messages to the following numbers:
07087214056 – The Chairman
08035700733 – The Vice-Chairman
07064772580 – General Manager (GM)
08033901111 – Human Resource Manager (HRM)
Please send copies of protests to: firstname.lastname@example.org