Nigerian Coca-Cola Plant Workers Demand Decent Pay

May 23, 2011 | News Wire

Special to the NNPA from the Global Information Network –

In a protest over low wages and long hours, casual workers of the Nigerian Bottling Company, bottlers of Coca-Cola, said they would no longer accept a daily wage of $2.56 (400 naira) being paid to them.

“We do hard labor with sweat as if we are prisoners and they expect us to survive on $2.56 a day,” said Femi Martins, a worker. “We come to work every day, 31 days a month, and 12 months a year, with nothing to show for it… At the end of the year, we don’t even get a bottle of coke as bonus for the year’s work.”

Bearing signs saying: ‘We say no to slavery’, the workers at the Ikeja plant in Lagos, are seeking a monthly wage of $288 (45,000 naira) 200 percent more than their current pay of $107.89 (16,800 naira).

As casual staff, they do not get safety gear and are also paid less than permanent staff.

Management, in a statement seen by the newspaper NEXT, claimed it was handling the matter internally, but that the workers were actually hired “through service providers for the plant.”

Coke has operated in Nigeria for nearly 20 years, employing close to 6000 workers. In February, the company appointed Kelvin Balogun as its CEO. Balogun is Nigerian.

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