Food, beverage workers down tools over salary increase
Members of the nation’s organised labour union, under the auspices of the Food, Beverage and Tobacco Senior Staff Association (FOBTOB), has expressed displeasure over its employer association, Association of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employers (AFBTE), to review agreed increment of salaries and fringe benefits of its workers.
In a statement signed by its National President, Comrade Quadri Olaleye, and Secretary, Comrade Iji Solomon, FOBTOB decried that AFBTE has continued to discriminate against its members in the payment of salaries and fringe benefits. It insisted members had met their targets and remained profitable, as majority of the employers are multinationals, including Flour Mills of Nigeria, Guinness Nigeria Plc, Dangote Industries, Nestle, and a host of others.
The union maintained that the senior staff and managers have been tactically abandoned, while other cadres have in the past months enjoyed a review in their salaries and fringe benefits.
The statement read in part: “A meeting was held on Friday 8th December, 2017, with the Association of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employers (AFBTE) in an effort to reconcile our interests after several disagreements.
“Discussions broke down once again as the AFBTE maintained the position that it is satisfied with the current status-quo, and would be willing to continue discussion early in 2018, except FOBTOB will accept its offer of 14 per cent as opposed to our 20 per cent demand. This, according to our industry records is the lowest and to this effect, we are calling all our members nationwide to embark on a National Strike, to compel the AFBTE to reach an equally acceptable agreement from today, 11th December, 2017, as from 12am prompt.”
Meanwhile, in a reaction, the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), urged AFBTE to resolve amicably and reach a consensus with the National Joint Industrial Council (NJIC), over salary increment to create industrial peace in the food sector.
In a statement signed by TUC’s National President, Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama, and its Secretary General, Comrade Musa-Lawal Ozigi, said any attempt to allow the intended strike action commence will collapse the economy.
TUC called on the leadership of AFBTE to quickly review its stands on the increment requested by its senior staff, and go ahead to pave the way for the conclusion of the NJIC Agreement.
The statement read: “We are equally concerned about the posture of the representatives of the employers at the NJIC negotiations. It appears the NJIC was deliberately constituted to spite the senior staff. Any act to diminish the dignity of our members is unacceptable. The fact that as senior staff we choose ‘jaw-jaw’ instead of ‘war-war’ does not mean we should be taken for granted.
“The position of the Executive Secretary of AFBTE is to say the least contra-indicative of an officer, who wants peace in the industry and defies logic. We hate to say that it looks like we had a better deal in the past and we urge the current administration to take a cue. This will bring peace to the industry as we have employed over the years.”