The Ogun state chapter of the Nigeria Union of Labour (NLC) has issued a strong warning to quarry owners in the state to desist from maltreating their workers or face the full wrath of the union.
The state Chairman of NLC, Comrade Emmanuel Bankole who spoke Saturday, during a meeting with the representatives of the quarry owners at the NLC Secretariat, Abeokuta, the state capital, lamented the poor condition of service Nigerians are subjected to in the hands of the quarry operators.
The meeting which was facilitated by the state chapter of the Nigeria Union of Mine Workers (NUMW), was attended by the Federal Comptroller of Labour, Comrade Anthony Olawoyin, the Federal Mining Officer, Bunmi Ayelabola and the Chairman of the state NUMW, Comrade Fasiu Abiola.
According to the NLC Chairman, many quarries which are owned by the Chinese subject their workers to poor condition of service, poor renumeration with no adequate provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to protect them from hazards.
His words, “Information at our disposal revealed that many quarries owned by the Chinese, operating in the State hire Nigerians for cheap labour. They hire and fire at will, they use Nigerians as casual workers.
“The NLC law says a company is only allowed to employ a worker as casual staff for six months after which such worked must be staffed but these quarries employ Nigerians for more than 27 years as casual workers.”
Bankole also alleged that many of the quarries do not allow their workers to unionise, saying “Unionisation is a fundamental human right that nobody and no employer can take away. If people are willing to unionise you cannot take it away from them, they are free to unionise, to join any union of their choice.
“You (quarry owners) just engage people, use them and dump them. No PPE. Before anybody can work in a quarry, you have minimum standard in terms of outfits they are suppose to put on, no first aid facilities in your companies and to the best of our knowledge, we are not aware of any Corporate Social Responsibility to the communities.
“The NLC shall take this no more, we are ready to contend with you (quarry owners). This is Nigeria and we will not allow anybody under any guise to come to Nigeria and use Nigerians anyhow they want. This is a country that is governed by rules and regulations.
“This meeting is not to witch hunt anybody but we are doing this for our country. It is because Nigeria is good, that they (Chinese) are here to do business. If Nigeria is not conducive, they will go back to their country but this is our own country and we have no where to go. This is why we owe it a duty to protect the weak,” Bankoke said.
While responding, one of the representatives of the quarry operators, Fase Olukayode denied the allegations.
Olukayode, a consultant to CCECC quarry, a Chinese company said, “As far as we are concerned, these allegations are not true, for the quarries that I’m consulting for, we have union, we have union leaders in our sites and there is no way the union will be looking at the Chinese maltreating our people, this is not possible.
“We don’t allow workers without safety gadgets to work with us. You cannot work on the field without putting the appropriate safety gadgets became of the hazards, we are working at a high risk zone”, he added.No tags for this post.