Home Special Report How Oyo NLC Brokered Peace In Sumal Workforce Crisis

How Oyo NLC Brokered Peace In Sumal Workforce Crisis

NLC Comrade Kayode Martins, right, with Group Manager, Sumal Foods Limited, Akin Akintayo…
NLC Comrade Kayode Martins, right, with Group Manager, Sumal Foods Limited, Akin Akintayo…

Following the crisis that led to the loss of one life during a protest at Sumal Foods Limited in Ibadan on Monday, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Oyo State chapter has intervened.

NLC Chairman, Comrade Kayode Martins, who led the delegation, met with the management and the workforce of the company to address and calm the situation on Thursday.

The Chairman said part of the resolutions reached at the meeting is that the management of Sumal should identify the deceased, condole and sympathize with his family.

“Initially, the management and staff and the Union have resolved the matter but we just observed one thing that is missing especially in the life that was lost, nothing was done as per reaching out to the family of the deceased to identify with them.

“When we came this morning we first had a meeting with our people (Sumal workforce) and they told us that the guy that died was one of them. If at all is not a worker, he was a citizen of Nigeria, a human being for that matter. Ordinarily, sympathy must be shown to such. So, we called the attention of the management and they promised to do that.

“We also called the attention of the management to one or two things that we noticed that can lead to fallout between the management and the workers and they promised that something will be done.

“Also, we talked about the company’s mode of recruitment and engagement with the workforce, in which the management also assured to improve on that as well. We, therefore, urged them to refer back to the union. And in a couple of days if nothing is done, we will take the next step. We are stakeholders and peace of the society must be maintained by all and sundry, that is why we are here,” Comrade Kayode Martins said.

In reaction to the people calling out the NLC as regards the Sumal and its workforce matter, NLC Chairman said that the mode of operations of the Union must be maintained and strictly followed.

“NLC is an umbrella body that unites all affiliate unions and cannot dabble into a situation when it has been really briefed or reported at the appropriate quarters. We have been on it for a couple of days, we had a meeting with the Commissioner of Police and the affiliate union, so that is why we are here today. We are doing our work and we have met with the affiliate union and pointed out their faults. We also met with workers of the company as well. They told us one or two things also. We have not worked out yet, we are still coming back to ensure things are well.

“Everything is settled, even the workers that were detained, we appealed that they should be released so that it won’t generate another thing. One way or the other, maybe in manner, they demonstrated one thing or the other, but it showed that they were affected in one way or the other, that was what warranted that situation, we should wave that, most especially we lost a soul, do we want to lose more? Thank God for the body language of the management, they have said that necessary things will be done in time so that those people will be released from the shackles of the police.”

Comrade Kayode Martins, in his engagement with the workforce of the company, emphasized that there was no palliative from the federal government to the private sector as is being speculated.

He urged them to reach out the leadership of their union to pass across their grievances or probably to the NLC at the state level.

In his own reaction, the Group Manager of Sumal Foods Limited, Mr. Akin Akintayo, appreciated the Nigeria Labour Congress for its intervention on the matter.

He described the loss of life as a result of the ugly incident as unwarranted and sympathized with the family of the deceased on behalf of the management.

Mr. Akintayo said that the management team has been working to ensure a peaceful atmosphere is maintained within the factory and between the management and the workforce.

“We thank God for today’s meeting with the Nigeria Labour Congress and we appreciate them and our in-house union for this wonderful meeting with the management. The management was very sad about the protest that led to the loss of life because it was unwarranted. We have reached the conclusion that the management should reach out to the family of the deceased to condole and sympathize with them on the loss of their beloved son.

“And again, we are looking forward to ensuring peace is maintained in the factory by engaging with our workers more. Already, we are putting in place some measures, what they were demanding for, and we are going to do it for them. And again, we have dispelled the rumour because what really caused the crisis was the false information of the federal government’s 5 billing naira palliative for our company which everybody knows is not true. We explained that to them and they realized that it was false information.

“On top of that, we are going to give them some palliatives from our management. We are going to increase their salary. We are supposed to increase their salary in December according to the agreement we reached with the national union by 14%, we are going to effect it from this July. That has been communicated to them even before the protest but we all agreed that what happened is the hand work of the devil and now peace is reigning, we are happy, they are happy and the NLC is happy. We prayed that God gives the family of the deceased the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss,” Mr. Akin Akintayo, Sumal Foods Limited Group Manager said.

Packaged by Adekunle Adegboyega

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