I noticed recently that companies owned by Lebanese, Chinese, Indians and a few other nationalities are like slave camps. The ways and manner they deal with employees are totally degrading, dehumanizing and lugubrious. It is similar to maintaining slave camps.
I once had a cup of coffee at a lounge in Lagos while waiting for my flight. The lady who brought the coffee asked for money and I gave her N2,000. Few minutes later, she appeared and told me the money I gave her was fake. I also noticed that the notes I gave her seems to have changed. So, I refused to change the money. She was almost crying and begging me not to allow her lose her job. I was wondering how would she lose her job?! Then a skinny looking Lebanese guy appeared and told me he sent her to bring the money back else he will deal with her. At that point, the ‘Ekiti powers’ came upon me and I stood up. I told him I’m not gonna change the money and I dare him to sack her. I told him that I will make sure he returns back to his country. Then he started laughing and making boasts of people he has in his pocket including police and lawyers. Then I told him to let lose his power and let’s contest. When he realize I was ready to take him on, he quickly walked away. I went back there days after and discovered he had sacked the girl.
Some of these guys are about the poorest people in their country but they come here to exercise such superpower that it becomes disdainful.
Some of the terrible practices
- Many of them will want employees to work from Monday to Sunday and 9am to 7pm
- Have no leave days
- Many of them don’t issue offer letters
- They don’t provide welfare packages for employees (no HMO, health insurance etc)
- They deduct employees salaries at will
- They pay peanuts
- They delay salaries and even don’t pay fully
- They physically abuse employees. From slap to hitting with items
- Some may even sexually harass their employees
- They create fear in the employees
- They set their own people in high positions and ask you to report to them
- They sack at will and not ready to compensate
- They verbally abuse employees and insults people
- They make you lose confidence in yourself
These and many more are the practices. Who will blame them?! We need to look inward because
- Our own people steal money and take it to foreign lands. They don’t even create jobs here
- Our law enforcers are easy to bribe and used as puns
- We have weak labour supervision in Nigeria. These things they do can’t happen in their own country
- There’s no defence for common employees on the street
- Our ever increasing unemployment rate is a major albatross
- Failure to stand up against these foreign owners when they misbehave
What I think we can do
- Review the labour law to keep these guys in check.
- Open Grievance and Employee Complaints bureaus where employees can lodge complaints about employers and the matter can be investigated
- Ensure Nigerians take strategic positions in these companies
- Send the foreign employees back home after working for 4 years
- They can only get job in Nigeria if the expertise doesn’t exist here
- The Labour law on foreign employers should be strict and clear.
I want to plead that we should share this message until it gets to decision makers. Thank you