How NUFBTE forced us to shut down operations – La Casera

La-CaseraSoft drink maker La Casera on Monday shut down operations at its Mile 2 Plant on the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway in Lagos, saying it could not guarantee the safety of workers.

This is contained in a statement by the company’s spokesman, Mr Tola Bademosi, made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

The statement explained that over 200 demonstrators led by representatives of the National Union of Food, Beverages and Tobacco Employees (NUFBTE) invaded the company’s premises on Saturday and Monday.

The statement said that the invasion led to disruption of production as workers were compelled by the unionists to stop work and sign a consent form.

“Over 200 shouting demonstrators of the NUFBTE broke into the factory which employs over 780 people at its site near Mile 2.

“Caught unawares with no prior notice, security guards were unable to hold back the unruly group who broke into the complex, entering offices and production areas.

“Production line workers were compelled to stop work and assemble in the factory yard, where they were forced to sign membership consent forms to join the union on the spot.’’

The statement also claimed that some of those who refused to sign the forms were brutalised.

“Employees who tried to film the disturbance on mobile phones were man-handled and had their phones taken away.

“Others signed under duress before taking the opportunity caused by a heavy downpour to flee the scene.

“Unable to guarantee the safety of its workers, the management was compelled to shut operations and send everyone home.

“The plant has remained closed over the weekend with its fate uncertain as leaders of the mob have threatened to return with an even larger force,’’ the statement said.

Since it commenced operations in Lagos 15 years ago, La Casera Apple Drink has become one of Nigeria’s top soft drink brands.

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  • Bd

    The union do not have any right to force worker to sign up to membership. They can let worker know the advantage of belonging to a union and if they want can join.The police should be called in this case

  • John650

    There are different versions of what really took place. The one I read in premium times says the employees wanted to join the union to better their working conditions. On the advice of the union, they were asked to pick a leader among themselves. They chose a guy but once the company got a wind of it, they fired the guy for what they termed poor performance.

    The employees with the help of the beverage and tobacco association got the Federal Ministry of Labour involved. The labour Ministry scheduled a meeting for all parties to come to Abuja. The company didn’t bother. Instead they took the employees and beverage association to industrial court. The case is still been heard when the company decided to sack every employee for what the company described as an invasion of their premises.

    The employees described inhumane treatment they received working there. For instance, the health insurance the company provides for its employees only covers the employee, not the spouse or children. In addition, the cost of the ailment must not exceed N3, 000.

    The company was started 15 years ago and is owned by Indians. The company called members of the Nigerian Labour Congress “hoodlums”.

    I’d say if this company or any other company can’t provide basic working conditions for its employees, then we don’t need them here. I know it will bite in the short term. What we don”t need in this country are slave drivers. They make all the money and take it back to their country.

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