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Douala market construction workers on strike

Workers of the south west International construction corporation, SICC, constrructing the Marché Congo and some 182 low cost houses in the…

Workers of the south west International construction corporation, SICC, constrructing the Marché Congo and some 182 low cost houses in the port city of Douala have stopped construction work  in protest against poor working conditions.

The workers say the company is owing them up to 28 months’ salary arrears. They revealed that they have not been paid two months’ salary in 2013, six months in 2014, six months in 2015 and the whole of 2016. The SICC workers down their working tools March 27 stating how they have always presented their grievances to company hierarchy without any positive results.

According to Ouwe Lazard, Human Resource Chief of SICC, the situation has made them miserable not only in their households but also in society. “When the complaints are too much, hierarchy will give between FCFA 10,000 and FCFA 30,000 to workers, promising a month’s salary in few days that hardly come to pass,” he lamented.

Seeing the way work is slow and workers helpless,  Ouwe said foreign partners of SICC decided to take over the projects and pay workers arrears but the General Manager is reluctant to finalise the deal. A deal, he went on, that would have taken them out of poverty, restore their dignity and safe them from losing their job.

Apart from owing workers bundles of arrears, a list of grievances by the staff representatives to administrative authorities underlined that of the close to 60 workers of the company, only three are registered with the National Social Insurance Fund.

In addition, workers are deprived of health insurance, annual leave, gratuities, advancement and payment of additional time while some suffer arbitrary sanctions and dismissal without quarrel letter.
SICC’s general manager is yet to give her side of the story as all attempt to reach her on phone was futile.

 

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