Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM



CDWR Calls On NUFBTE And NLC To Immediately Mobilise For A Fight Back

By Victor Osakwe

For over one year now the inalienable rights of workers to freely associate have been brutally attacked by the management of Dangote Pasta Plant Ikorodu, a company owned by Aliko Dangote, the richest man in Africa. For joining a trade union, National Union of Food Beverages and Tobacco Employees (NUFBTE), about 250 workers were not only locked out of the company but some of them were also brutally assaulted.

Specifically, on August 30, 2010 a combination of some junior staff and hired thugs, armed with machetes, knives and sticks, at the behest of the management locked out workers after inflicting bodily harm on some them, particularly the newly elected unit leadership. In fact, the Unit Chairman of the Union, Mr. Samuel Abuseh was beaten, tied legs and hands together and locked inside a container without window for several minutes.

Workers in virtually all companies owned by Aliko Dangote are denied rights to unionise and a good working condition. For example, the average salary of workers in Dangote Pasta is N15,000, an amount below the current minimum wage. Aliko Dangote has become the richest man in Africa due to massive exploitation of workers who are daily condemned to slave wages and inhuman working condition.

Workers having waited for 11 months without any concrete actions from NUFBTE, picketed the national secretariat of NUFBTE on Thursday July 28, 2011. After sustained pressure from workers and previous postponement, a meeting between the NLC-led delegation and Dangote management eventually held on October 8, 2011 where the NLC issued a 2-week ultimatum, which has expired 2 months ago and nothing concrete has been dobe by either NLC or NUFBTE. Workers held another picketing of NUFBTE office on Monday December 5, 2011 and as a result the Acting General Secretary of NLC, Owei Lakenfa fixed another meeting for 8th of December between Lagos NLC leadership, NUFBTE and Dangote Pasta workers, which was held and to submit a report to the NLC’s Central Working Committee (CWC) holding on December 20, 2011 for further deliberation. NLC and NUFBTE must immediately mobilize to confront Dangote management with the aim of reinstating the workers without loss of pay.


NLC and the National Union of Postal and Telecommunication Employees (NUPTE) led the AIRTEL workers to reverse anti-labour activities of AIRTEL. AIRTEL management introduced 60% pay cut for workers, introduction of contract staffing policy through outsourcing which led to the sacking of about 3000 workers etc. Workers, NUPTE and the NLC responded by embarking on mass actions and strike, which disrupted AITEL services in some parts of the country, particularly in Abuja and environs. The struggle went on until AIRTEL management reversed some of the anti-labour policies. This is what is expected in the Dangote Pasta case. Workers are ready to fight back, NUFBTE is not doing anything to fight back other than hiding under the canopy of the NLC while the NLC is vacillating. In all these zigzags of the trade union leaders, workers have suffered immensely.

The Campaign for Democratic and Workers Rights (CDWR) calls on NUFBTE and NLC not only to immediately and spiritedly intervene in the plight of the victimized workers but also unleash the might of labour movement against the Dangote Group for its institutionalized anti-labour activities. Joint Action Front (JAF) has been intervening, but will still have to put more pressure on the NLC and NUFBTE. Labour should first give ultimatum to the Dangote Group recall the sacked workers and stop all its anti-labour activities, failing which there should be sustained picketing of all the Dangote companies nationwide.