BY ESTHER OLAIFA
‘We Want The World To Know, Wempco Group Is A Cheat”. Call it a battle cry or a threat, but that is what is coming from workers of the Wempco Group of company in Ogba Lagos.
Reason they say, is that the company is owing them over 10 months outstanding salaries in addition to other demands.
The workers had taken to the streets in a peaceful protest last Tuesday to drive home their demands.
Chairperson of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Lagos State, Comrade Funmi Sessi who came in solidarity, promised to duly send letters of protest to the Chairman of the Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Commence and also to the media .
Comrade Sessi said the NLC was ready to take up the management of Wempco Group on the workers’ grievances in showing their displeasure against the company.
she added that, if the company refused to respond appropriately to the workers, that the NLC may resort to locking up its premises.
In an interview with The Eagle correspondent, Union chairman of the company 1999 to 2005, Comrade Mr Taiwo Oluwale, bemoaned that some of the workers had died waiting for their unpaid salaries, some on sick bed while some had been divorced by their wives because they had not been good fathers to their children.
According to him, some workers were even transferred to other stations without adequate provision made for them, and those who dared to ask faced intimidation from the management of the Wempco Group,
“Presently, we don’t know our fate but if the management doesn’t need our services then they should pay us
“The NJIC (National Joint Industrial Council) agreement signed in 2018 is yet to be implemented”, he added.
We want the whole world to see they are a cheat. “This is why we are crying out that enough is enough”, he said.
Mr Yusuf Jimoh who had served the company for nine years before he was confirmed a staff in 2013 said the suffering had become too much in the last five years.
“I never received a full salary from the company. As a result of this my wife left me and i’m left with no opinion than to keep my children with my mother”.
He said workers were being oppressed by the Wempco Group management, adding that he would not want to continue with a compay that never recognised the effort of its workforce.
Yusuf also appealed to the government to intervene and call the director of the company to order so that workers could be paid their salaries.
Another worker, Mr Lawal Babatunde bemoaned the point that the company had been reneging on its contractual obligation and had started also using COVID-19 as excuse.
Pleading with the management to remit all their entitlements, he lamented that his children had been driven from school because of nonpayment of school fees, and that if not for his wife, he wouldn’t know how to cope with other basic household expenses.
“We are crying out to the management to pay our pension, remit our cooperative money and all our outstanding debt. If they want us to come back to work, let them pay us our money.
“Our cooperative due was deducted from our salary but was not remitted to the cooperative account. The pension of two years and half is yet to be remitted into the pension account, that is why we are here”.