29th June, 2010
Tf there is anything that companies owned by the foreigners are known for, it is the over casualisation and exploitation of their Nigerian workers. The owners of these companies do not care about the welfare of their workers and sack them atÂ will.
Only last week the workers in the factory of a Chinese-owned shoe-making company, Wema Industry at Suberu-Oje in Alagbado, a suburb of Lagos, Nigeria, were involved in a showdown with the management. They blamed the death of one of their colleagues, Mutiu Kolawole on the negligence of the management.
The distraught factory workers said the 21-year old victim lost his life while he was trying to save a colleague from drowning in an over flooded canal near the factory. One of the workers said that this happened because of the insensitivity of the management of the company.
â€œIt was raining heavily that day. We usually close work at 7 p.m. But by 5p.m. the management pushed us out of the company premises even though it was raining,â€ he said.
Mutiu and two of his colleagues were said to have drowned in the flood. It was the next day that the body of Mutiu was found several streets away from the point where he was swept away. The workers said they should not have been pushed out when it was raining. They were also angry that the factory did not make any effort to retrieve the body of Mutiu from the flood.
The workers said that they were wary of the tragedies that had been befalling the staff of the company. One of them also lamented the poor working conditions in which they operate. This is the situation in most companies owned by Asians.
In another Asian company, De United, manufacturers of the popular Indomie noodles, workers shut down the factory in a protest against a planned mass retrenchment. They said at the factory yesterday, which is located on Idiroko road, Otta, over 300 workers were laid off in March last year. And within a few months, contractÂ staff were employed to replace them.
In a little over a year, the companyâ€™s management wrote the workers that there would be another round of retrenchment. This time more than 200 workers will get the boot. This development is what has angered the workers and they have been saying it negates labour laws for a company to retrench workers twice in less than five years.
The situation in many of these Asian companies calls for the attention of government. There is the need for the authorities to take a close look at what is happening in these organisations where workers work for twelve hours under inhuman conditions and are paid peanut in return.
Companies that are flouting rules and are not committed to the welfare of their workers should be sanctioned. And if they remain recalcitrant, then those companies should be closed down and their owners shown the way out of the country. They cannot treat Nigerians as slaves or conduct business in their home countries the way they do here in Nigeria. Their excesses must be stopped now.