Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM

Dura Pack Workers Strike Again Over Salary Cut, Poor Working Conditions and Unionisation

Dura Pack workers embarked on two days (June 8 and 9, 2020) “strike action” over salary cut and unionization. The Publicity Secretary of the Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR) visited the factory to solidarize with workers on June 9, 2020.

By Chinedu Bosah and Rufus Olusesan

Following the disruption of operation by the COVID-19 pandemic, Dura Pack company was closed in April 2020 and workers were paid N20, 000 (55.5%) out of their monthly salary of N36, 000. Casuals are paid N750 per day. But in May 2020, workers were paid only N8, 000 (22%) even though this time around they worked for seven days. Workers embarked on strike over the meagre N8, 000 that was paid for the Month of May and management promised to compensate and the strike was called off. Rather than pay, management paid N5,000 two weeks after to compensate for the May Salary. Unfortunately management paid N14,000 for June salary, an act that also angered the workers. Dura Pack workers should organize themselves to resist cut in salary and better working conditions including ending casualization while the leadership of National Union of Chemical, Footwear and Non-Metallic Workers (NUCFRLANMPE) should lead the workers in struggle to achieve a vibrant union and fight for better working conditions.

Typical of slave factory camps, workers in Dura Pack work from Monday to Sunday every week without any rest days and for 12 hours daily, they lack well spelt out condition of service, poor wage and lack of safety work tools are also the main features. Salaries are determined arbitrarily as salaries are paid without a defined structure etc.

The company is notorious for anti-labour practices and casualization which have provoked various struggles by workers over the years. For instance, in 2009 some workers leading the struggle for unionisation were sacked and that led to a strike action. Workers also embarked on a strike again after a worker, Kenneth Frederick, died of electrocution on April 16, 2013, due to lack of safety work tools as an electrician. Due to the poor working conditions and casualization, a group of trade unions picketed the company on October 7, 2013, wherein the branch union was inaugurated and 7-person leadership was elected; when the management refused to recognize the union, workers were forced to embark on strike on October 11, 2013, it lasted for three weeks and management was forced to pay compensation to all workers but workers were unable to win unionization and end casualization because the union leadership failed to deepen and consolidate on the strike action. Similarly, workers also went on strike in 2015 as a result of poor working conditions and unionization. The CDWR members were with Durapack workers in solidarity in all the struggles.