Staff of Dangote Cement Transport, who were sacked on 4 February, converged on the company's head office last Thursday to demand payment of their entitlements, which have accrued up to eight months.
The sacked workers, employed through the company's Truck Ownership Scheme in 2015, described the Dangote Cement Group as an “anti-poor” organization that exploits vulnerable people.
Abubakar Ibrahim, Chairman of Forum of Dangote Cement Truck Officers, told SaharaReporters that the sacked workers have made their demands known to the company through their lawyers and will fight until the demands are met.
“We feel that our rights have been trampled upon and that what they should pay us now should be multiplied by the number of trucks we managed,” Mr. Ibrahim said. “It was specified in the offer letter given to us that we would manage one truck, but we ended up managing six.”
He added, “We were surprised at the manner in which we were sacked. Those who tried to resist were bullied. We want them to give us our trucks. Outstanding allowances and bonuses should also be paid.”
Osazuwa Festus, another affected truck driver, called on labor groups to intervene in the matter in order to ensure that workers in other companies do not suffer a similar fate.
“We signed a contract with Dangote Cement Transport, but they have decided to breach this contract. It was agreed that before the contract could be terminated, both parties must sit and decide on what should be given as relief. But Dangote unilaterally pulled out,” said Mr. Festus.
The protesting truck drivers were further incensed by the cancellation of a meeting that the Dangote Group had scheduled with their representatives.
The news of cancellation was said to have been broken to them by Anthony Chiejine, Group Head of Corporate Communications. According to Mr. Ibrahim, leader of the Forum of Truck Drivers, the meeting was cancelled because the company is inclined to be inconsiderate of the demands of the drivers.
“Dangote Group, through Mr. Chiejina, informed us that the meeting has been postponed indefinitely because we protested last week. They did that because they do not want to reach an agreement with us. Our demands are with them, and we will go through all legal means to see that we get what is truly ours from Dangote Group,” Mr. Ibrahim said.
“We fulfilled our end of the agreement and rather than fulfilling their own part, they sacked us without any relief nor compensation,” he added,
A disengaged worker, who identified himself only as Mr. Gbenga, said he was sad and disappointed to hear that the meeting was cancelled.
The Publicity Secretary of the Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights, Chinedu Bosa, similarly expressed disappointment and frustration at the cancellation of the meeting, saying that the fight will continue until the workers' demands are met.
Mr. Ibrahim disclosed that the workers would be engaging in further protests in Lagos and Ogun States.
“We will be staging another protest on Thursday, 2nd of March, 2017, and we will be going to the Lagos State Secretariat to make our grievances known. Next week, we will stage another protest in Ogun State,” he said.
Attempts to reach Mr. Chiejina were futile, as his contact number was unreachable.