Dangote Industries Limited, owners of Obajana Cement Plc has cited the unending global economic meltdown and unabated importation of subsidised cement into the Nigerian market as reasons for the on-going staff rationalisation in the factory.
In a press statement signed by the General Manager, Human Capital, Mr. Marcus Jeremiah, in Lokoja, the company noted that though painful, it has been forced to embark on the staff rationalisation due to the scaling down of its expansion program that would have doubled its capacity.
According to the statement, based on a deliberate policy and in anticipation of the installation of two additional production lines, the company did employ extra labour to meet the expected capacity but regretted that the ambitious expansion program had to be scaled down, thereby forcing the company to commence the staff rationalisation.
“Obajana Cement Plc., is not unmindful of the fact that it is in the forefront in tackling unemployment through the provision of direct and indirect employment to thousands of Nigerians.
"As a deliberate policy and in anticipation of the construction of additional production lines aimed at doubling its capacity, the company did employ extra labour to meet the expected capacity.
“However, due to the unending global meltdown and the unabated importation of subsidised cement, the expansion program had to be scaled down. It became obvious that the staff rationalisation had to be embarked upon, as painful as it may be”, the statement stated.
With the rationalisation exercise, which commenced in July 2009, no fewer that 84 workers have lost their jobs, 22 of whom were expatriates, as 29 were laid off in July; 47 in August while another eight were unavoidably affected in September.
Speaking against the backdrop of allegations that the September exercise was carried out due to the resistance of the company to unionisation of workers, the statement described such allegations and insinuations as misleading and ridiculous, saying among those affected were four expatriates.