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Labour kicks as Lacasera sack over 1,300 workers

Lacasera company plc, formerly Classic Beverages, has sacked its over 1300 workers for demanding to have a workers union.
The workers is made up of both the permanent and casual workers.
The decision caught all the staffs unaware as they were met with the sack notice on the gate of the company in Lagos, when they resumed for work yesterday.
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The workers
According to the notice pasted at the entrance of the company, the management said it is because of the illegal invasion of their business premises on Friday, September 11, by hired hoodlums, hence it cannot continue business operations under the circumstances, thus “we regret to inform all our staff of their immediate disengagement”.
Lacasera
The company also directed all staffs to go to their representative, Tusen Consulting, for their entitlements.
The company was referring to workers protest held on Friday at the company’s premises, where the workers protested the unjust sack of over 100 of them for initiating unionization of the workers, as the branch chairman of the Union at Lacasera, Mr. Richard Jome said “it is the company’s ploy to dehumanize the workers as nothing was touched during the protest as they all stayed back to monitor everything”.
This arrangement was derided by organized labour in the food and beverages sector, under the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), as it said the workers were sacked because they wanted to form a union, which the company does not want due to its callous business practices.
The Senior Assistant General Secretary, of the National Union of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employees (NUFBTE), Comrade Mike Olanrewaju said the company has been engaging in the casualisation of its workers since it has been in existence over 15 years ago in the country and it is the agitation of the workers to have a union that led to the company’s action.
He said this when he led NUFBTE members to picket the company, as he said they were quickly mobilized to the company when they got wind of what the company’s management has planned to do to the workers ,calling the picketing “a special mission to liberalise Nigerian workers that are under captivity”.
Olanrewaju said :”similar incident happened in 2004 when some workers agitated for a union but the company’s management due to their deviousness sacked all the workers then, close the company for a while,told the workers to reapply, resumed operations with new staffs and sacked all the proposed union executives”.
“This is their game plan that we know and they have brought Bunmi Oni, the man that almost destroyed Cabdury Nigeria, to come and do their hatchet job for them but this time we will not allow it as we will picket the company until the federal government come to the aid of the workers as Nigerians are being maltreated by the Indian owners of the company,” he asserts.
Explaining the genesis, Olanrewaju said: “We have come here today  as a call to duty to be our brothers and sisters keeper, we have come to Lacasera because since it commences operations over 15 years ago, they have been producing and Nigerians have been patronizing them maximally, making profits from Nigerians and everybody know that it is a fact that unionism is enshrined in our constitution, freedom to belong to a union of their choice
“The disturbing thing about this company is that since their inceptions they have always thwarted the attempt by the workers to fully belong to the union of their choice. All efforts made were thwarted. In 2004,when we made the demand, the management requested for time for them to be stabilized before the union can begin, which ordinarily, the union should have kicked off when the company starts operation in the country, but we allow them to be.
“The same thing is happening now as on Friday,they sacked all the proposed labour executives,despite the fact that we have held various meetings with them on the need to allow their workers have a union that they desire. This is what we cannot allow as the enslavement of Nigerians by foreigners should stop”, he added.
 He said the company took the matter of unionisation of the workers to the National Industrial Court (NIC).
“After the matter is under the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, that we have reported them to in Abuja, with the company tactically shunning invites from the ministry to attend the meetings.  We said ok and went to the court with them as we invite our lawyers. They even pre-empted the court by sacking the workers after using the court as an excuse not to meet with us in Abuja,” he said.
He calls on Nigerians to intervene in the matter.
Some of the workers who joined the labour leaders in protesting at the entrance of the company,as the company was under locked,derided the way they are being treated by the management of the company as they were treated like sub-humans.
The media consultant of the company, Mr Tola Bademosi,  said the invasion on its facility led to disruption of its production, alleging that workers were compelled to stop work and asked to sign consent forms by the unionists.
The Human Resource Manager of the company, Mr Otemewo said he was not aware of the crisis and promised to call back when he get details of the sack.

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