Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM

Poor Working Condition and Indecent Labour Practices in Ibadan-Based Factories!

CDWR calls on the state and national leadership of NLC and TUC for immediate intervention

The precarious working condition and indecent labour practices which include violation of right of workers to form and belong to a trade union,, poor-pay, imposition of exploitative policies like casualisation and contract employment among others have not only continued but obviously worsened across workplaces especially in most Ibadan based private companies and factories. Notably among these factories are SUMAL FOOD LIMITED, HENKEL NIGERIA LIMTED, NIGERIA EAGLE FLOUR MILL, PREMIER FEEDMIL, ZARTECH FOOD LIMTED among others.

By Abbey Trotsky

The poor working condition and indecent labour practices are not unconnected with the anti-workers and pro-establishment attitude of all of the leadership of the trade unions in these factories. The union leaders  usually do not protect and advance the interest of the mass of workers in these factories. Instead, they often connive with the management and owners of the company to either ensure that workers with radical disposition are sacked or take the advantage of their undue relationship with the Nigeria police and other security agents mostly DSS to harass and intimidate genuine labour activists and socialists with pro-worker organization known for giving support to independent agitation and struggle of the workers.

It will be recalled that Comrade Abiodun Bamigboye has been facing a string of persecution since 2018 in the hand of the Nigeria police and DSS at the instance of SUMAL FOOD LIMITED sadly in connivance with the National and local leadership of National Union of Food, Beverages and Tobacco Employees, NUFBTE, company’s existing Union. This is as a  result of the intervention of the CDWR intervention in a protest of contract/casual workers of Sumal Food Limited against poor pay and working condition that broke out in the company on 2nd and 3rd October 2018.

Between 19 December 2018 and 9 June 2019, Comrade Abiodun Bamigboye was arrested 8 times by the police and DSS and was forced to report weekly at the office of the AIG Zone 2 in Osogbo, Osun State between 28 May and 7 June after which he was later arraigned in court. At present he has about four court cases including two on trumped-up criminal charges over the said intervention in Sumal.

About 800 workers who are members of NUFBTE across different companies namely 7up Bottle Company, Nigeria brewery, indomie and opposed to the move by the Oyelekan-led national leadership of NUFBTE to elongate its tenure by two years, despite having spent 16years, have been reportedly sacked in the last five months by the respective managements allegedly at the instance Oyelekan-led National leadership.

As a matter fact, some of the outsourcing companies used by the employers to circumvent the labour act in order to enslave and exploit workers are owned by some former leaders of the trade unions in these companies. A typical example of this is ATUNWA VENTURE. This company is owned by one Mr Shittu Emmanuel who is a former leader of Agricultural and Allied Union Employees of Nigeria, AAUEN and is currently one of the leading Ibadan-based outsourced companies with operation presence in a number of companies. Notably among these companies are SUMMAL FOOD LIMITED, ZARTECH FOOD LIMITED, HENKEL NIGERIA LIMITED, EAGLE FLOUR MILL, among others.

Workers employed by ATUNWA and many other outsourcing companies often suffer all forms of poor working condition and indecent labour practices.

An outsourcing company in SUMAL FOOD LIMITED known as QUEEN is allegedly owned by one of leading management staff of the company. Another outsourcing company known as S-LIOYD LIMITED in Eagle Flour mill is notorious for subjecting their recruits to all forms of indecent labour practice like engagement of the service of workers without a documented term of employment. Workers without any form of employment letter are no doubt vulnerable to all forms of attacks

Take for instance, for over nine years now, the monthly basic salary of casual workers in Nigeria Eagle flour mill which is N7,500 for flour stackers whose daily target is minimum of 1325 bags of 50kg flour, an evidence of a trailer load of flour and N10,000 for forklift operators.

In Henkel Nigeria Limited, the poor monthly pay earned by casual workers recruited for the company by five different outsourcing companies namely: Cherri-G, Globe Ark, El-Shaddai, Kamsonic and Beatmol, was slashed recently. This is following the decision of the company to reduce the daily pay which is the basis for the calculation of the workers meagre monthly pay from N1450 to N1100.

Again, the situation does not fare better at Sumal food Limited where casual workers who were recruited by not fewer than over 20 different outsourcing companies have not enjoyed any significant increment in their monthly pay since 2018. This was the last time the company was forced following the three days protests to increase by N300 the daily pay between N800 and N1000 earned by the casual workers

Beyond the poor pay is also the precarious working condition under which the casual workers are being forced to operate from one factory to another. The management of Eagle flour mill in order to deny the casual workers their usual payment for overtime, recently changed the working hour from three shift of 8hours each for morning, afternoon and night shift to two shift of 6am to 6pm with two days morning shift and two day night shift arrangement while the period of break for workers is still less than the 1 hour prescribed in the labour act. Very similar to the situation in Eagle flour mill, is that of the Henkel Nigeria Limited where casual workers are only allowed to observe 20mins break without provision for safety boot including access to use the company ambulance and health facility within the company in the case of accident. Access to medical care in both the Eagle flour mill and Premier feedmil is also very poor. The highest cost of medical treatment any casual workers in each of these two companies can enjoy from each of the company doesn’t exceed N1200. Anything more than this amount is borne by the affected workers.

Arbitrary sack of workers and lack of job security are twin related forms of indecent labour practices often suffered by most of the casual workers from one factory to another. In Sumal Food Limited for instance, there is no week a group of casual workers will not be asked to stay off work for a minimum of one week without pay by the management.

Against  these array of anti-workers practices including poor pay and working condition we of the CDWR call for a quick intervention of both the national and state leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC and Trade Union Congress, TUC. However, the independent action of the casual workers organized in a form of network across factories will also be required.

Therefore, we hereby recommend CDWR to every worker who is dissatisfied with all forms of poor working condition and indecent labour practices going on in the workplaces and willing for a fight back as a platform to join and help to build towards building a network of struggle for better pay and working condition in workplaces.