Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM



CDWR Calls on NUFBTE and NLC to Intervene!

Dangote Pasta at Ikorodu, one of the companies owned by Aliko Dangote, the richest man in Africa has always been run without respect for labour laws and workers’ rights. Repressive actions have always been employed to quash all demands and agitations.

Specifically, on August 30, 2010, 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 National Union of Food, Beverages and Tobacco Employee (NUFBTE), Mr. Samuel Abuseh was beaten, tied legs and hands together and locked inside a container without any window for several minutes. A prepared form stating the renunciation of union was subsequently brandished to workers to sign in order to be allowed to enter the factory to work.

This attack came just 11 days after the unit was inaugurated by the national leadership of NUFBTE. The management had employed similar repressive measure in the past. In 2004, the management sacked 7 of the union officers a day after their inauguration in order to prevent unionism in the company.

However, some of the victimized workers have been evicted from their homes, their children sent out of schools and feeding has been extremely difficult. In fact, a female victimized worker who has eye sickness while she was working could not sustain the treatment, which has made the eye problem to become worse to the extent of going blind. We commend NUFBTE leadership for rising up to the occasion by donating money for the treatment. We hope this kind gesture will continue.

Since the management attacked workers, the leadership of NUFBTE has not done enough to force the management to reinstate the sacked workers, though the union organized a press conference on April 3, 2012 and issued the management of Dangote Pasta 21-day ultimatum. The ultimatum has lapsed since April 24, 2012 and no steps have been taken by NUFBTE to press home the demand. The union Delegate Conference held in April 2012 only discussed the matter but no concrete plan of struggle was outlined.

The victimized workers have been putting pressure on the leadership of NUFBTE. Workers have staged several pickets at the NUFBTE national secretariat and it was this pressure that forced the leadership of NUFBTE to give the management ultimatum in the first instance. The workers gave NUFBTE leadership till June 30, 2012 to begin action against the management or face another picket in July. After the ultimatum, the union leadership had informed workers that they were preparing to hold a meeting with other unions as part of ‘consultation’ on how to prosecute the struggle. The national leadership of the union has been promising actions anytime workers picket the secretariat. This appears as a tactics used to delay or hold down the struggle in order to wear down the workers.

Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR) commends the steadfastness of the victimized workers and calls NUFBTE and NLC to commence a series of mass activities including picketing of Dangote Pasta and other companies belonging to Dangote Group until all victimized workers are reinstated and their backlog of salaries paid.