Nigerian Workers Protest Planned Mass Sack in Siemens

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Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt

Scores of Nigerian staff of Dresser-Rand, a subsidiary of Siemens, a multinational telecommunications company, staged a protest in Port Harcourt on Wednesday against an impending sack of 70 per cent of the company’s workforce who are all Nigerians.

The aggrieved workers blocked the entrance of Novotel Hotel, along Ken Sarowiwa (Stadium) Road, where two expatriate members of staff of the human resources department of Dresser-Rand, who are Angolans, were lodged.

The protesters, under the aegis of Dresser-Rand Workers Association and the Coalition for the Protection of Workers in Niger Delta, carried placards with inscriptions such as: “We say no to workers discrimination”; “Racism is a crime against humanity”; “Save us from white slavery”; We need 100 per cent entitlements for workers in Dresser-Rand”, among others.

THISDAY gathered that Messers Doudou Sar and Lemuedo Neto were drafted from the human resources department of the Angolan office of Dresser-Rand to have an interface with each Nigerian staff of the company to finalise their termination from Siemens global group.

The management of Dresser-Rand had barred its Nigerian staff from participating in union activities, thereby, restraining them from enlisting as members of the Nigerian Union of Petroleum Employees of Nigeria (NUPENG) and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigerian (PENGASSAN).

Counsel to the aggrieved workers, Soalabo West, told journalists, during the workers protest that “it is unlawful to disengage through the backdoor in a hotel room workers who had worked conscientiously for Dresser-Rand for the past years.”