Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM

Linda Workers Again Protest Unfair Labour Practices

Linda Workers Again Protest Unfair Labour Practices

  • Strike and Protest of Workers Forced Management to Recall sacked Workers
By Bosah Chinedu

The Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR) salutes workers of the Linda Company, producer of Xpression weave-on, for fighting back anti-workers’ policies and the sack of 8 union leaders for their role in defending workers’ interests. As a result of the target policy and general working condition, workers embarked on protest on January 25, 2016 and management responded by sacking 8 activists. This attack and the militarisation of the company’s premises led to another protest and the armed police brutally responded by firing teargas, one of which injured one of the workers known as Aina. Workers had no choice than to embark on strike action that lasted for two weeks until their demands were met after which worked resumed on February 15, 2016.

The company’s management for several years now has imposed unrealistic targets commonly known as “27 Point”. This 27 Point policy means that when a worker is unable to meet the unrealistic target, it is counted against him or her as demerits and when it gets to 27 demerits, the worker is automatically disengaged. However, it is not only inability to meet targets that counts as demerits. Even mistakes count as demerit also. Some of these demerits are mostly 3 pointer. According some of the workers, management had constantly increased the targets. For instance, the target was increased from 160 in 2015 to 350 before the struggle broke out.

It will be recalled that a worker, Wisdom Atukpo died on 24th of September, 2014 while on duty and the management allegedly dumped his body in the gutter outside the premises the next day. The late Wisdom was sick and sought permission to go to the hospital but the management refused him. Considering that he was already on 23 pointer demerits and seeking medical attention would automatically earn him a sack, he continued working as the only option of survival until he dropped dead. For almost two years now, no management staff or owners of this company have been interrogated let alone prosecuted, something that shows the level of impunity enjoyed by the company and the anti-poor character of the government agencies. In fact, the Lagos State House of Assembly after a visit to the company in October 2014 described the working environment in Linda Manufacturing Company as “hell on earth”. Yet, neither the Lagos State government nor the federal government has done anything to end the slavery condition in the company.

Also condemnable is the police brutality and harassment that characterised the struggle. Aside the firing of tear-gas canisters at workers, carrying out several arrests of workers and detaining them, the police did not stop at that but continued the militarization of the factory premises, mobilizing about 11 trucks and over 50 armed police officers daily to harass and intimidate workers. This brutality is led by the Area Commander of Ogba, Mr. Edward C. As a matter of fact, Mr. Edward personally led his men to physically assault and harass members of the CDWR on February 8, 2016 outside the Iju factory premises when they paid solidarity visit to the workers.

We hereby call on the workers to always be vigilant in defending their interest when the need arises. The lesson of the two previous struggles (October 2014 and February 2016) that forced management to backtrack is for workers to always in solidarity fight back any attack and anti-labour policies.