By; NIYI OGUNGBOLA, Abeokuta
The Ogun State Government has directed the management of a ceramic manufacturing company, located along the Lagos-Ibadan Express Way, to immediately comply with all industrial safety rules and other state laws or risk shutting down of its factory.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olu. Ola. Aikulola, gave the directive when he led an inter-ministerial team on a fact-finding mission to the company.
NN recalled that the Company was reported to have allegedly breached safety rules during the lockdown and forced its workers to remain in the factory, thereby preventing them from going home to their families after daily close of work.
Aikulola said government would not condone any act, inimical to the safety of workers, describing the company’s decision to prevent workers from going to their families for about three months as, “economic slavery”.
The Permanent Secretary acknowledged the company’s effort at employing youths in the State and co-operating with the inter-ministerial team, maintaining that workers’ rights, especially their right to work under safe conditions, as well as the right to return to their families, must not be infringed upon.
He mandated the company to wait for a directive from the Ministry of Health before allowing the workers return to their respective families, adding that all issues raised on workers’ safety, adherence to physical and social distancing guidelines, as well as proper waste management within the factory, must be complied with.
Some of the workers who spoke in anonymity, lauded the company for prompt payment of their wages, urging the company to allow them go home, without the threat of losing their jobs.
Responding, the General Manager of the company, Mr. Shu Joden, explained that the company got the consensual approval of the workers to remain on the company premises, justifying that allowing the workers return to their respective homes during the lockdown, could have led to the spread of coronavirus in the factory.
Joden assured that all issues raised would be immediately addressed, pledging the Company’s cooperation with government, towards improving the State’s economy.
The inter-ministerial team that visited the Company included; officials of the Ministries of Industry, Trade and Investment, Health, Women Affairs and Social Development, Information and Strategy, as well as Bureau of Cabinet and Special Services.