There was panic on Monday on Iju Road, Lagos State, after policemen used tear gas to disperse protesting workers at the Linda Manufacturing Company, during which a lady, identified simply as Aina, was hit by a tear-gas canister in the face.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the protest, which started at about 8am, was staged by the workers of the company to register their disapproval of the alleged sack of 10 workers.
It was gathered that while the police used tear gas to disperse protesting workers from the company, a tear-gas canister hit Aina in the face, damaging the bridge of her nose.
Some of the workers who spoke on condition of anonymity said the lady had been rushed to the Ikeja General Hospital where she was receiving treatment.
It was learnt that about 10 workers, including executives of the workers’ union in the company, were given the sack. Their letters were said to have been dispatched by courier to their houses on Saturday and Sunday.
The General Secretary of the National Union of Chemical, Footwear, Rubber, Leather and Non-Metallic Products Employees, Douglas Adiele, who spoke on the issue, explained that the grouse with the management of Linda company started the previous week when workers went on strike and demanded that the company stopped giving them “unrealistic targets”.
He said the workers had been given targets to complete about 350 tasks in a day, which many of the workers had been unable to achieve.
According to Adiele, workers who are unable to complete the tasks are given demerits and when the demerits have reached 27 points, they are disengaged.
One of the protesting workers, who identified himself as Tunji, told PUNCH Metro that the management started with a target of 160 in 2015, which kept on increasing until it reached 350.
Adiele said, “The affected workers were disengaged without negotiating their benefits with the union. The union will picket the company if by Wednesday, the management refuses to recall the sacked workers.”
In 2014, Linda company with factories in Iju and Mushin area of Lagos was shut down by Lagos state agencies over the death of an employee, Nnamdi Solomon, whose remains were abandoned in the rain on the premises for two days.
It was gathered that during the Monday protest, the workers destroyed some equipment and computer systems in the company.
When contacted, the Human Resources Manager of the company, Ms. Lara Folajimi, said she could not comment on the issue.
“Right now I cannot explain anything. I cannot answer any questions for now,” she said.
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Dolapo Badmos, said Aina’s injury was not from a gunshot.
She said, “She is one of the protesters in the company. They became so riotous that they beat the foreign nationals who are the company owners. They scaled the fence and snatched the passports of their employers. The policemen on guard duty were attacked and during the scuffle, the riot gunner of one of the policemen on duty exploded and hit the lady. She is currently receiving treatment in a hospital.”