November 17, 2022

NLC shutdown Lebanese firm over unfair labour practices

Juliet Umeh

The Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, has crippled the operations of a Lagos based Lebanese-construction company, Al Mansour over alleged unfair labour practices

Protesting leaders of NLC and workers Thursday morning stormed the construction firm headquarters located in Oketie Ebo, Ikoyi Lagos, and two of its construction sites and shut their operations singing solidarity songs alongside some affiliates of NLC.

While picketing the firm, the protesters displayed several placards with inscriptions such as “No to racial discrimination, Workers must be allowed to organise and be organised, Union rights are fundamental rights, and Responsible corporate organisations respect the statutory agreement with social partners and Stop treating workers like slaves.

Addressing the protesters, the Head of the NLC office, in Lagos, Mr. Wilson Onemolease, said among others, “Ordinarily, the agreement had been reached and the management reneged on the agreement. We discovered that workers’ welfare is too poor. We have the right to negotiate their fate and that is why we are here. There were a lot of entreaties over time to make them implement the agreement.

We have been to two of their working sites and we asked the workers to down tools. Some of us are in Apapa where they are building a tank farm, and we have told the management that they cannot come to Nigeria to impoverish our brothers and sisters.”

Also, the General Secretary of the National Union of Civil Engineering, Construction, Furniture and Wood Workers, NUCECFWW,   Mr. Ibrahim Walama lamented that the company had refused to honour an agreement,  and workers have come to ensure the workers’ rights are respected, saying “There’s a lot of unfair labour practice around the site, safety standards are not followed and the workers’ condition of service is nothing to write home about. I was at their site in Ikoyi and Banana Island and the workers were sleeping in the site in such a dehumanising condition.

“All efforts to get the workers organise into a union to have a voice, the employers said because they know what they are doing, so they are caging the workers and that is unacceptable.

“It is the right of workers and as leaders; we have a duty to enforce that if the employers are saying no. Some of the workers may also be afraid because work is not easy to come by in Nigeria.”

A few minutes ago, someone who introduced himself as the company’s legal adviser called to enquire of a way forward. “I told him that what they can do is to come to a round table and let us discuss and resolve the issues.

Efforts to speak with the management of the company were unsuccessful.

At the time of this report, representatives of the company and leaders of NLC were in a crucial meeting in a bid to resolve their differences.