Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM

DANGOTE PASTA: Victimised Workers Forced Union Leaders to Act

DANGOTE PASTA: Victimised Workers Forced Union Leaders to Act

The steadfastness of the victimized workers of Dangote pasta has finally forced the leadership of National Union of Food Beverages and Tobacco Employees (NUFBTE) to wake up from their slumber. The union at a press conference on April 3, 2012 issued a 21 day ultimatum to the management of Dangote pasta to recall about 250 workers who had been locked out of the company since August 30, 2010 or face a series of industrial action.

The other demands of the union include the payment of salaries and allowances of the victimized workers for the period they have been locked out and the recognition of the union in the company.

The union leadership which had hitherto shown lack of serious commitment to the plight of the workers finally caved in to the sustained pressure of the workers on March 26 when the workers held the last of numerous protests at the national secretariat.

The workers led by Samuel Abuseh were locked out because of their resolve to have a trade union (NUFBTE) within the company. Some of the workers were also physically assaulted by the thugs hired by the management to prevent them from entering the company.

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.

The management, whose representatives gate-crashed into the press conference, publicly declared that the matters would be resolved before the deadline of the ultimatum. The management had sent representatives to the union secretariat very early in the morning to prevent the press conference from being held. The union leadership feeling the extreme pressure from the workers refused to accede to the request.

A meeting between the management and union leadership has been fixed for April 16. The representatives of the affected workers are also expected to attend the meeting.

The CDWR commend the commitment and fighting spirit of the victimized workers and urge them not to rest on their oars until the victory is achieved.

This will not be the first time a meeting has been held with the management or ultimatum issued to the company without anything achieved. It will be recalled that a meeting between the NLC-led delegation and Dangote management was held on October 8, 2011 where the NLC issued a 2-week ultimatum and nothing concrete was done by either NLC or NUFBTE.