Trouble At Dangote Cement

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50 Ghanaian Workers Sacked

By Gifty Arthur

Four top management members of Dangote Cement from Nigeria, have been accused of unilaterally sacking some 50 Ghanaian workers, who until two weeks ago, worked for the Ghana branch of the company in Accra. They were sent packing for demanding an upward adjustment of their salaries.

The names of the Nigerians were given as, Alhaji Tajudeen Sijuade, Alhaji Sada Baki Laden and Dr. Rabiu Musa.

The fourth person, Alhaji Bala Zango, who is the acting Head HR/Admin, per his Immigration status, is not allowed to work in Ghana, because he came as a visitor, and not to work.

The 50 workers, made up of junior and senior staff from various departments, are yet to come to terms with their termination, especially so, when they were neither told what they had done wrong nor queried.

One of the sacked workers told this paper, “Among the 50 people they sacked, are the entire local union members of UNICOF….from chairman to the last person, while the senior staff members of ICU, they sacked the vice chairman and others”.

With Christmas fast approaching, the sacked workers, still do not know what they are going home with, even if they accept their fate and decide to move on.

According to some of the workers who spoke to The Herald on condition of anonymity, they suspect the decision to terminate their appointments, stems from a recent sit-down strike by junior staff to get a pay rise.

Part of the termination letter read “We regret to inform you that management has decided to disengage you from its organization. Therefore, your services are no longer required with effect from today 8th December, 2017.

You are to hand over all assignments, equipment and documents including your Identity Card in your possession as the case may be, to your head of department and obtain a clearance letter from him/her. Your entitlement will be paid to you on presentation of the clearance letter at the office of the HR and Administration”.

According to them, the salary negotiation process began successfully, until the four Nigerians stepped in and hijacked it from the Ghana management and the junior staff, who had agreed that labour expert, Austin Gamey, be engaged to develop a salary structure for the company, since it had none.

But management refused to implement the salary structure developed and submitted by Mr. Gamey.

Following this, the workers met with management to have the increment effected, but that did not happen because negotiation broke down. While the workers were demanding a 20 per cent increment, they were offered 15 per cent which they agreed, but the increment never happened.

The four Nigerians were brought into the negotiation which included the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatius Baffour Awuah, the Chairman of the Employers Association, and the workers were assured they were going to get what is due them.

Strangely, they were called one after the other on Friday, December 8, 2017, and handed dismissal letters.

The workers accuse the four Nigerians of acting unilaterally. They had expressed their displeasure at unionization of Dangote Cement workers, saying in their home country, there was nothing like that.

Interestingly, because Dangote Cement, had no salary structure, anytime the workers demand for pay rise, they were told the issue was being handled in Nigeria, but nothing is heard again.

“This is not the first time they are sacking people anyhow without recourse to the law. Because there is no unionization in Nigeria, they don’t like the idea of unionization”, one of the aggrieved workers said.

Already, the sacked workers who have worked for the company for well over 8 years, have written to the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) and the Labour Commission to seek clarification on their behalf.

Since their sack, the workers say the company, has hired security officers, including police officers unto its premises, who are to prevent them from entering.

The question on the lips of the aggrieved workers is, why would the boss of Dangote Cement, Alico Dangote, who doubles as African’s richest man, allow his company to maltreat his workers, when he is portrayed as a role model for the African youth.

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