2 July, 2020When 163 workers at Nycil Nigeria reported for work on 29 June they found the gates locked. Since then the workers are picketing outside the company premises in Lagos and have been joined in solidarity by other workers in the area.
The picketing workers have vowed to continue assembling at the gates until they are opened, and they can resume work. The workers are members of the National Union of Chemical Footwear Rubber Leather And Non-Metallic Products Employees (NUCFRLANMPE), affiliated to IndustriALL Global Union.
Although the company has not stated the reasons for the lock-out, NUCFRLANMPE suspect that they want to retrench the workers. The union is demanding dialogue with the company, saying that the company cannot make unilateral decisions without meeting with the union.
The union says the situation has been worsened by the “anti-worker attitude” of the owner of Nycil, Adetola Adebayo, who has consistently refused to engage with the union. Industrial relations worsened at the company when it was bought by the current owner in 2014, and NUCFRLANMPE’s efforts towards dialogue with the employer have been unsuccessful.
The ministry of labour and employment has been approached to intervene to end the lock-out at Nycil – a company that workers describe as “one of the worst employers in Nigeria”.
Tunde Olagoke, NUCFRLANMPE deputy national secretary said:
“We received information that Nycil wants to embark on a redundancy exercise. The union is rejecting this because Covid-19 is not the making of anyone. We need a collective strategy to manage the situation without job losses of the toiling workers.”
Workers disagree that Covid-19 should be used as an excuse at Nycil where operations were not affected by the pandemic.
Paule France Ndessomin, IndustriALL regional secretary for Sub Saharan Africa said:
“It is unacceptable for Nycil to lock-out workers. The management must meet with the union to address the issues. They cannot make unilateral decisions as this violates Nigerian labour laws, destroys trust and is unfair to the workers.”
Nycil Nigeria is a chemical manufacturing company specializing in the manufacture of synthetic polymers, acrylic polymers, polyester resins, and homo polymers emulsion among other products. These are used in the making of paints, textiles, packaging, and stationery.