By Victor Ahiuma-Young
There seems to be no endÂ Â Â in sight to the lingeringÂ Â industrial unrest between the management of
Leventis group, and workers of its snacks factory over right to freedom of association as an earlier meetingÂ fixed for yesterday between the management and officials of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), to find solution to crisis was called off at the last minute.
Vanguard gathered that the meeting was called off by the management and there are indications that the crisis might take a new turn asÂ labour plans to take on the Headquartres of the group situated in Oyingbo, Lagos any moment from now.
The Snacks factory situated in Ibafon, Ogun state, along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Vanguard gathered, was shut and activities paralysed since Thursday by aggrieved workers who have accused the management of unfair labour practices especially refusal to allow them form and belong to the union of their choice as enshrined in section 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Vanguard gathered that the aborted meeting was calledÂ following an earlier meeting by the management of the group and NLC officials from the Ogun state council where the management of the snacks factory was said to have claimed that workers of the snacks factory already belong to another union and there is no reason for them to join another.
But the workers of the snacks factory hadÂ denied ever belonging to any union. The meeting was to ascertain whether the workers actually belong to another union or not.
The management of the snacks factory was to provide all relevant proof including officials of the said union which it (management) claims the workers belong as well as evidence that the workers check-off dues are being deducted and send to the said union.
Meanwhile, the aggrieved workers and officials of the National Union of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employees (NUFBTE) from the National Secretariat and Ogun state council of the union have continued toÂ gather at the gate of the factory insisting that their right to freedom of association cannot be denied .Vanguard further gathered that the disagreement between the management and the workers over right to belong to union got to a head when the management decided to sack them, only to re-engage them as causal workers.
Speaking to Vanguard, NUFBTEâ€™s Assistant General Secretary in-charge of Unionisation and Secretary, Lagos Council 1, Comrade Mike Olarewaju, said in line with the Trade Union Amendment Act of 2005, the workers approached the union for membership and individually filled membership forms making them members of NUFBTE.
He lamented that since their membership wasÂ made known to the management, the management had applied all available tricks to frustrate the workers membership of the food union.