Workers Locked Up Factory With Voodoo To Push Pay Increase
Failure of the management of Diamond Cement Company Limited at Aflao in the Volta Region to meet a salary increment demand by its workers, has resulted in some items believed to be voodoo erected at the main entrances of the company leading to a closure of the factory.
Some of the voodoos, according to an eyewitness account, weighed about 50kilogram; an equivalent of a bag of cement produced by the company, is currently causing serious fear. Management of the company, has also been prevented by the angry workers from entering the compound of the factory, The Herald gathered.
The Aflao, police were last Thursday called to the factory and some of the workers were arrested and sent to court where they were remanded. Others are being sought after by the police. Meanwhile, some casual labourer have been engaged by the company, and production has resumed, but not to maximum capacity.
This was the second time that angry workers of the Diamond Cement, had resorted to using voodoo to push the management to increase their allowances. But this time around, management equally got angry and abrogated the contract of two subcontractors called Stone and Sabu, whose workers are involved in the act. There are presently unemployed.
The workers were demanding GH¢1 per ton (20 bags) but management insisted on paying 40ps per a ton, whilst negotiation continues.
Management later added extra 2 pesewas saying, they have factories across the globe and 6 pesewas is a fixed price for all, but again the workers have refused to heed this explanation.
The workers later resumed work with a month’s ultimatum to management for their demands to be met. They also complained about non-payment of SSNIT contributions which was part of their contract with Diamond Cement, as well as, safety gears suitable for their job.
The strike started with a temporal stop of work. It was later intensified to a lockup of the main gate to the factory, preventing management and other workers from entering the yard for more than a week, as many feared they could end up killed by the voodoo.
The Herald is informed that this is the second time the angry workers have forced the factory to close down with voodoo placed at the entrance of the company.
The first incident attracted the attention of Togbui Azongaga Fiti Amenya IV of the Afloa Traditional Area, the Member of Parliament (MP) of Ketu South, Fiifi Kwetey, National Security officer of the area, as well as the ex-MP Mr. Zigah to negotiate on behalf of the workers, leading to a 22 per cent increment of their take-home pay on 30pesewas per ton to 40pesewas per ton.
They collected two rams and drinks from the paramount chief, Togbui Fiti and other traditional rulers to pacify the gods before the factory was opened.
This time, management refused to fall for their demands and called in the police, who arrested some their leaders. Prior to the arrests the management had abrogated its contract with two companies, Sabu and Stone resulting in some of the workers attacking anyone who tried entering the factory.
Insiders told The Herald that some the workers used to pilfer some materials from the company but recently, management blocked the loopholes by installing Close Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras, which curtailed thievery, hence their cry for a salary increment.
The Herald’s sources at Togbui Fiti’s palace, have revealed to the paper that the workers are now trooping the palace, begging the paramount chief who they have disrespected to get the police off their back, as well as calling on the management of Diamond Cement to re-engage them. But it is unclear whether Togbui Fiti, would want to do that.
Meanwhile, Diamond Cement this paper has learnt is improving upon its business by laying a rail lines from Togo through to their factory in Aflao. The company is also about to construct a habour in Aflao to enhance its business.