Agonies Of Poor Workers As They Lament Poor Conditions, Salaries At Buildwell Ltd.

It’s not a palatable story for some staff members of a Lebanese company, Buildwell Plants & Equipment Industries Limited, at Magboro, Ogun State as they have decried the poor salaries and treatment meted out to them in the firm.

The workers last Thursday staged a protest on the company’s premises.

The drivers told Metro that for over 15 years, they had been receiving the same salary despite driving the company’s trucks across the country to deliver goods and heavy duty equipment.

They also alleged that whenever they tried to press for better working conditions, they were either sacked or threatened.

One of the drivers, Onuora Philips, said for over 10 years, the company gave drivers N2,000 as transport allowance while hauling goods across the country.

He said, “We decided to confront the Lebanese people who manage this company to increase our salaries. Imagine, for over 10 years, we have been earning the same amount that they pay us as salaries.

“The N2,000 transport allowance, we even have to give police from it because you know police don’t use eyes to see trucks, they will stop you for settlements.”

Another driver, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the company adopted sacking or threat as methods to ensure that workers did not fight for better welfare.

He explained that they had written to the Nigeria Labour Congress, Ogun State branch, over their poor working conditions.

“But when their delegates came and entered the offices of the management, on leaving the offices, they were smiling and just told us that things were being looked into,” he added.

Another driver, Alex Omonigbeyin explained that drivers who had worked in the company for between 15 and 20 years were being paid N60,000.

He said, “As a driver, I have been here for 18 years and people like us, our salary is N60,000, while those who came after us earn about N25,000 and N30,000. They give us N2,000 as drivers for allowance on trips and N400 for motor boys. What can that amount do in this economy? Also, they treat us like slaves in our own country. Most of the Lebanese guys, when they want to talk to us, they say, ‘Get to work Blackies!’”

The company’s General Manager, Daniel Shroo, said since the firm was not a public enterprise, he was not under obligation to react to the accusations.

He said, “Our company is not a public company; it is a private company. So, don’t worry, I have nothing to say, bye.”

The Ogun State Chairman of the NLC, Emmanuel Bankole, said the union had never received any letter or message from workers at the company.

“In fact, we intervene in issues of this nature with groups that are not our affiliates, so if we had received any letter, I assure you, we would have taken action because it’s our duty to protect Nigerian workers,” he added.

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