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Chemical workers seek govt’s intervention, demand compensation for dead colleague

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Workers with Nycil Chemical Company, located in Ota, Ogun State, have called on the government to urgently intervene, as the management of the firm is threatening to sack on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.

They equally demanded that their colleague who died on active service during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown be duly compensated, alleging that the management failed to acknowledge nor show sympathy to the family of the casual worker, Saka Haruna, who lost his life while on active duty.

Workers, under the aegis of National Union of Chemical Footwear Rubber Leather and Non Metallic Products Employees (NUCFRLANMPE), and Chemical and Non Metallic Products Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (CANMPSSAN), made these known to journalists at the Nycil entrance when organised labour picketed the firm.  

President of NUCFRLANMPE, Goke Olatunji, who is also the National Auditor of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), and his counterpart in CANMPSSAN, Segun David, vowed that they would ensure justice for the dead worker.

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Edo State-born late Haruna, was reported to have been killed in an accident that occurred at the Sango Ota Tollgate end of Ogun State, while trying to give his family the stipends he was paid after him and his colleagues were forced to work 48-hours round the clock during the COVID-19 lockdown by the Federal Government.

Olatunji said: “He had left the company after getting some stipend, to give N3,500 to his family so that they can eat during the lockdown. He called the wife to meet him at the Tollgate to give her the money, but he was killed in an accident, he never made it back to work.

“The unfortunate thing is that the management did not send condolences to the family, nor observed a minute silence for the dead worker.”

Olatunji, who maintained that the unions do not discriminate between casuals and permanent workers, assured the embattled employees that the leadership would ensure that the family of the deceased gets what is due to them.

Quoting some sections of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), he said the late Haruna died on active duty, noting that for the workers to have been locked up to work for 48 hours at a stretch was anti-labour.

CANMPSSAN President, Segun David, said despite their sacrifices to uplift the company to its present position, the management’s plan is to sack the workers and employ casuals.

Recalling how they fared under expatriates’ management, he said: “The company has been the best in the industry under the foreigners, and we were happy when a Nigerian bought it, thinking it would be greater than where we were before, but it has been tales of woes and hell for the workers.

“We will not allow our members to be maltreated or laid off without due process, hence we will continue to resume here every day until the management opens the gates.”

Meanwhile, efforts to reach the chairman or the managing director of the company for comment proved abortive as the chairman did not pick his calls, while the Managing Director, who had earlier said that the company was ready for a peaceful resolution of the crisis had not visited the premises again since then.

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