Bimbola Oyesola 08033246177, [email protected]
As the lockout of workers by the management of Nycil enters the second week today, the embattled workers have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to save them from all the anti-labour policies of the company.
The workers, without prior notice, were denied entrance into the premises of the company, located in Sango Ota, Ogun Stat, last Monday, after they had worked overtime the previous Saturday.
The workers have been assured of support from the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to continue picketing the company until the management rescind its decision.
Both unions representing the workers, National Union of Chemical Footwear Rubber Leather and Non-Metallic Products Employees (NUCFRLANMPE) and Chemical and Non-Metallic Products Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (CANMPSSAN) said their labour centres were behind them in the battle. The workers who have been picketing the company since Monday due to the lockout by the management got the cheering news from their leaders that other Nigerian workers would support them.
President of NUCFRLANMPE, who is also a national trustee of the NLC, Goke Olatunji, said the union now has the assurance of the labour centres for the total shutdown of the company until the management follow due process.
“The management has further worsened the crisis by putting up a notice at the gate that the workers should stay away until the management contacts them; where is that applicable in law? They were still at work until Saturday, no information whatsoever, only for them to resume work on Monday and the gate was locked, quite unreasonable,” he said.
The management’s notice, which had no date nor signatory, read, “This is to inform you that the company has been closed down till further notice. Further communication on resumption if necessary will come to you in due course.”
The NUCFRLANMPE president said the workers would not vacate the premises, but will ensure that their rights were granted, even if the company would fold up.
“We know it’s a ploy by the management to sack workers without any negotiation, moreso when it has failed to negotiate with the union based on collective and procedural agreement,” he said.
The unions have equally expressed displeasure at the Ministry of Labour and Employment on its response to the crisis so far.
President of the Chemical and Non-Metallic Products Senior Staff Association, Segun David, said the company’s latest action may have been due to the backing of government, which has failed to fulfill its mediatory role.
David said the controller of labour in Ogun State, who was in Sango Ota on Wednesday, failed to interprete the law on lockout to the management, but rather was trying to force the unions to toe the company’s path.
“That would have amounted to maltreating the workers to lose out on all their benefits. It’s unfortunate that as much as Federal Government is working to save Nigeria from COVID-19, the company is trying to further endanger the workers’ lives through undue exposure and suffering,” he said.
He stated that the company had no reason to sack, as it has continued to produce goods even during the lockdown, exposing workers to risk and failed to pay them their entitlements.
He said, “Among all our members, Nycil is the worst in terms of welfare; these workers have to sacrifice their leave bonus, work over time without pay. It’s unfortunate that the owner is a Nigerian, who is supposed to be treating the workers fairly.”