…Reject 13% pay rise, demand minimum of 20%
By Victor Ahiuma-Young
Workers in the Food and Beverage sector, yesterday in Lagos stormed business premises of Nigerian Breweries Limited, NBL, Flour Mills PlC, and 7-UP Bottling Company, PLC, protesting perceived protracted delay in effecting a new welfare package by their employers.
The protesting workers led by the Food, Beverage and Tobacco Senior Staff Association, FOBTOB, vowed not to accept anything less than 20 per cent salary increase from employers, insisting that they had long rejected a 13 percent proposal by the employers on the aegis of Association of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employers, AFBTE.
Displaying several placards with various inscriptions depicting their grievances, the aggrieved workers contended that the peaceful protest to Flour Mills Nigeria in Apapa, Nigeria Breweries, Iganmu and 7UP Bottling Company Ijora, was a warning to employers that workers’ patience was running out.
Some of the placards read; ‘’FOBTOB say no to industrial inequality; “Management greed and exploitation shall be resisted and stop the proliferation of expatriate workers”.
President of FOBTOB, Mr. Quadri Olaleye, who earlier briefed journalists on the rejection of the 13 per cent proposed by the employers, accused the employers of insensitive to the suffering of workers by their alleged deliberate delay in the negotiation of a new collective agreemeent that would see an upward review of workers’ salaries and other benfits.
According to him, both parties had met on five occasions without reaching any agreement on the issues raised by the union, saying, “The collective agreement for review of salaries and other fringe benefit was due for negotiation and FOBTOB sent its proposal to AFBTE in July, 2017 to start negotiation. Negotiation did not commence till October in spite that the agreement expired In August. When negotiation started our charter of demands was reduced to two from seven items.”
The FOBTOB president decried the discrepancy meted out to its members by the various organisations such as overtime and transport allowance which was not extended to all the senior staff.
According to him: ‘’Our Association, as managers, are being cheated in spite of their imput in the business in order to realise target. Our members are victimised through restructuring or downsizing.” He urged the employers to tackle the problem of employing unqualified expatriates who have flooded the industry and taking over the jobs of Nigerians.