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Wage discrimination and corruption at Medis Dakar in Senegal

3 July, 2020IndustriALL Global Union affiliate in Senegal, Syndicat National des Travailleurs des Industries Chimiques et Activités Assimilées du Sénégal (SYNTICS), and the Confédération Nationale des Travailleurs du Sénégal (CNTS) to which it also belongs, are condemning the wage discrimination and corruption at pharmaceutical company Medis Dakar.

The unions say that the financial difficulties the company is facing are due to mismanagement and corruption. In a memorandum to the Medis Dakar management, which was also sent to government ministries of health, industry, and labour, the unions say it has become routine for the company to declare losses of billions of francs every year and announce that it is close to bankruptcy.
According to the union, which organizes 116 of the company’s 316 workers, the hope that came when the company was bought by the Medis Group from Winthrop Pharma Senegal in 2017 has vanished.
The unions wrote:

“The arrival of the Medis Group seen as a new beginning gave workers hope. However, this was for a short while as workers quickly became disillusioned as the financial situation worsened. The managers said this was caused by cash shortages, inadequate raw materials and packaging items and unexplained technical problems.”

The unions were not convinced and carried out their own investigations, which found some financial misappropriations that included overcharging for vehicle maintenance and excessive use of fuel by the management, payment of bonuses to some workers while excluding others, some unexplained deductions on pay slips, and wage differences for workers doing the same work.
To get the company out of the difficulties the unions are recommending improvements in financial and human resources management. This will allow workers to focus on their work priorities and contribute to the company's success. The workers also reaffirm their willingness to work with the Medis teams to sustain and develop the workplace and help in resolving technical and financial problems.
Paule France Ndessomin, IndustriALL regional secretary for Sub Sahara Africa says:

“Medis Dakar must engage in fair labour practices according to Senegal’s labour laws. The company must practice equity by paying workers doing work of equal value the same wages and must meet with unions to explain some management decisions that are unfair to the workers. Dialogue between Medis Dakar and the unions is key to building better industrial relations at the company.”