By Austin Ajayi, Yola
No fewer than 300 workers of Adama Bervages Limited, producers of FARO table water and FARO Juice yesterday took to the the street housing the company in Yola to protest alleged inhumane treatment by the Indians engaged to manage the company by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.
The workers carrying placards with inscription “Indians must go”, “we don’t want Indians”, “we say no to causalization” ” we are not slaves” and many other inscriptions.
One of the protesters, Abdullah Maigida Bello who spoke on behalf of others said “since the Indians came to manage this company they make us work like slaves in our own country with no comessurate income”.
Some of us have been on causal staff for 12 years, what they do is disengaging and reengaging without paying.
“Most of the parmement staff including some senior staff were terminated without payment but were converted to contract staff by these Indians”.
Trouble was said to have started last Friday when rumours that the management was about to lay off all the causal staff and re-engage some of them as new causal staff.
An inside source said the remour led to a call for meeting with the management over the poor condition of service and the continuous causalization without any plan of giving letters of appointment.
This, the source, said did not go down well Mr.Francis Vazheparambil, the Group COO, who ordered that the workers be locked out.
Also speaking, the chairman of Senior Staff Union of Food and Beverages Staff Union of Nigeria, Adama Beverages Limited Branch, Comrade Puke Jackson in an interview said some staff were given queries for holding meeting that did not affects the production of the day.
“We came in as a union to intervene but the management seems to have taken a stand, this has been the problem since this came to the company, he has brought a lot of Indians to displaced us Nigerians who better qualified.
“We have worked with some Indians before in this company, even of the causal staff we have then which some them are among the protesters were treated like Kings but today in FARO the situation is nothing to write home about”
When contacted, the Group Chief Operating Officer of the company Mr Francis Vazheparambil decline comment saying “I don’t have business with the media in Nigeria, I will not talk”.