Scores of casual workers at the Western Metal Products Company Limited annex, Magboro, Ogun State, on Wednesday, protested against the alleged inability of the management of the company to pay their salaries for over three months.
The protesters, who were in different departments of the company, said there would be no work at the company until the management responded to their demands.
The men alleged that the expatriates employed by the company treated them with disdain, adding that workers’ welfare was also neglected.
The workers alleged that the expatriates short-changed them and sometime demanded bribes before paying them their wages.
One of the workers, Samuel Ibrahim, alleged that social amenities were not provided for workers.
He said, “Our salaries have not been paid for three months. Aside from that, the welfare of workers is not catered for. We are tired; enough is enough.
“We are facing a lot of hardships in the company. We have been termed racists by the expatriates. We don’t have water to take our bath after doing the tedious job; there is no toilet and there are no tools to work with.
“We once complained to the management, but they started playing hide-and-seek with us. Whenever we ask for our salaries, they will ask us to come back later.
“They pay N1,027 per day and pay everything in two weeks. Some of us have been working in the company for over 10 years without being put on permanenet employment. And for the 10 years, we have been collecting N1,027 per day; no increment.”
Another worker, who identified himself only as Olamide, said the workers were being enslaved by the company.
He said, “I have spent seven years there without being employed, and I am paid N1,027 per day. The worst part of it is that our government is not doing anything about our plight. Some government officials came into the company sometime ago during a programme, but they never asked about our welfare.
“We are being enslaved in our own country. The expatriates don’t know anything; we are the ones teaching them what to do and at the end of the day, they will come back and hurt us, calling us different names. And if we attempt to react, the police will arrest us.
“They cheat us to the extent that they terminate our appointment every year. They will give us another form to fill so that you won’t be able to claim the number of years that you have worked with them.
“We need the government to come to our aid. There is no toilet in the company; but the expatriates have a guesthouse in the compound.
“We work from 7am to 7pm. The company said they are in a tight corner that they cannot pay us and we told them that if they cannot manage the company, they should set us free and let us go by paying our salaries.”
Another worker, Akindele Johnson, alleged that their payment cards were sometimes not signed until they bribed the expatriates.
He added that when he had an injury, the company did not pay his medical bills.
He said, “Each day you come to work, they will mark your card that you are present and when the card is up to the thirteenth day, they will find an allegation against you and at the end of the day, they will tell you to bring cartons of beer, noodles and crates of egg and sometimes money.
“If you don’t bring all these things, you will not be paid. If you are sick and you miss any day, they won’t sign your card.
“We want the government to come to our aid. We don’t want to work there again, but they should pay the salaries they owed us. If they need workers, they should hire other people; we are tired of working.”
The Group Director of WEMPCO, Robert Tung, did not pick his calls which rang out.
He had also yet to respond to a text message sent to his phone as of the time of filing this report.