ELDORADO WORKERS ARE OWED 7 MONTHS’ SALARY AND 3 YEARS PENSION AMIDST OTHER ENTITLEMENTS
ARMED POLICE BREAK THE PICKET BUT WORKERS ARE UNDAUNTED
CDWR SUPPORTS ELDORADO WORKERS’ STRUGGLE AND WE DEMAND PAYMENT OF WORKERS ENTITLEMENTS WITHOUT DELAY
The Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR) condemns the anti-labour activities of the management of Eldorado Nig Ltd, based in the Lagos district of Ikeja, including the refusal to pay workers backlog of salaries and other entitlements.
The following entitlements are being owed workers:
- 7 months salaries of April 2020 to December 2020
- 2019 and 2020 annual leave have not been paid
- Gratuities of workers that retired in the last six years have not been paid
- Management has refused to remit pension deductions to workers PFA
Aside from the unpaid entitlements, annual increments have stopped since 2013, no medical allowance is paid and the Collective Agreement reached in 2013 has not been implemented by the management. About 129 workers are affected while the average salary of most of the workers is N25,000, an amount that is below the minimum wage.
Seven months’ unpaid salaries and other entitlements have put the workers and their families in serious economic hardship; children of the workers are not in school, rent cannot be paid while eviction from their houses is looming, feeding has become extremely difficult while debt keeps piling up.
Besides, like many companies, Eldorado Nig Ltd deducts pension contributions from workers’ salaries and pocket the money leaving workers without pension while the Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) and National Pension Commission (PENCOM) have failed to intervene. We are privileged to know that some workers of different companies have written to PENCOM complaining of the infractions and appealing for its intervention, but it has failed to bring the different managements to book. We demand the remittance of workers’ pension and call on PENCOM, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) to live up to their responsibilities and protect workers’ pension contributions.
In response to the anti-labour practices, Eldorado workers staged a picket/protest of the company on Tuesday, December 15, 2020. Workers and the two key management staff (Chairman and MD) were inside the company as the gates were locked when the Police forced the gate open and whisked them out of the premises. The picket was staged by workers because the Chairman (Sami Abu Hassan) and the MD (Farid Abu Hassan), who are both from Lebanon, are planning to travel out of the country and evade liabilities. It is worth mentioning that the management has been selling off the machines and raw materials such as iron sheets, beams etc., in a manner that suggests that the management is closing down and planning to run off. The management has repeatedly promised to pay verbally, but renege and refuse to sign an agreement with workers.
Armed policemen were again mobilized to the company on the morning of December 16, 2020 and the officers were seen demanding the opening of the gate so that the Chairman and the Managing Director would be allowed to leave the company premises. The police officers were also seen threatening to use maximum force on the workers. True to type, an additional 6 vans of police vehicles were mobilized at about 6 pm on December 16, 2020, and led by SP Yusuf of Area F Police, forcefully gained entrance and whisked both management staff out of the company premises without an agreement with workers. SP Yusuf claimed that he was acting on the order and instruction of the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr Hakeem Odumosu.
On leaving the company premises Chairman (Sami Abu Hassan) and the MD (Farid Abu Hassan), as usual, made another verbal promise that they will pay three months salaries out of the seven months salaries on Tuesday, December 22, 2020. This could be an empty promise for the umpteenth time. It is clear that the Nigerian police, as usual, came to do a hatchet job of protecting the interests of irresponsible wealthy management staff at the expense of the cheated Nigerian workers in Eldorado. Despite the ignoble police intervention, workers remain undaunted and have vowed to resume the struggle if management refused to pay as promised.
Eldorado Nig Ltd, a steel fabricator founded in 1969, is into the construction of road, house, silos, tanks, underground tanks, pedestrian bridges etc., and have been making money but has been flying its capital and revenue out of the country.
The CDWR demands the payment of seven months’ salary and the remittance of workers’ pension deducted contributions and management contribution as well. CDWR calls on Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Steel and Engineering Workers Union of Nigeria (SEWUN) to intervene in the struggle of Eldorado workers with the aim of protecting their interests and forcing the management to meet their demands.
Comrade Rufus Olusesan
Comrade Chinedu Bosah
National Publicity Secretary