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Socialist Democracy Aug - Sept 2005

 

VICTORY FOR FLOUR MILLS �FIVE�

By Emma Adikwu

Victory finally came the way of the Flour Mills 'Five' who had been standing trial since March 2005. The five workers were arrested the police invited by the Flour Mills Management to repress a peaceful protest by 600 workers who were protesting their unjust sack by the management. The workers were sacked for fighting for adequate compensation for the family of their colleague, Ayodele Jojolawo, who slumped and died while bagging fertilizers, which was his share of work at the factory of Golden Fertilizer a subsidiary of Flour Mills Nigeria PLC. His death was due to the culminating effects of the hazardous chemicals workers are daily exposed to without adequate protective gadgets/ coverings. The victimized workers also used the protest to demand an end to their continued casualisation and agitate for improved welfare and better conditions of service. They also demanded the recognition of their rights to form and belong to union of their choice in accordance with the Section 40 of Nigerian Constitution.

The five workers arrested by the police were charged with spurious allegations by the Police to Court 2 at Apapa Lagos. The case had passed through five adjournments until it was finally struck out by the presiding Magistrate on July 22nd 2005. This feat was achieved through the legal assistance rendered by the Campaign for Democratic and Workers Rights (CDWR) in respect of the struggle.

CDWR got involved in the struggle a few days after it had begun on March 9 2005. Since then, CDWR has helped organise the victimized workers and provided legal, political, logistic and other supports to aid the struggle. Together with the workers, the organisation has reached out to labour and pro-labour organisations including Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) for their solidarity and support. Also with CDWR, the workers have also been embarking on an intensive media campaign to air and cry out publicly their grievances and injustice meted out to them.

The freedom gained by the Five' has further consolidated the belief of the victimized workers in the struggle and inspired them to be much more committed to the cause. They hope to win the battle for compensation from the Flour Mills Management at Court without abandoning political avenues and actions being explored to bring the desired results. To this end they are presently compiling all forms of evidences geared toward stating beyond all reasonable doubts that they were unjustly exploited and treated by the Flour Mills Management.

CDWR and the victimized workers have lined up programme of activities in the pursuit of struggle to the logical conclusion. We therefore appeal for the political support and or financial assistance of labour movement, pro-people political parties and pro-masses organisations.

 

 

Socialist Democracy Aug - Sept 2005