Workers of the Cameroon Shipyard and Industrial Engineering company staged a strike action on Tuesday, May 23, demanding payment of five (5) months’ salaries owed them, including social and health insurance.
“Workers have gone for five months without salaries, social insurance is not there, and health insurance lacking. People are dying because they fall sick and cannot treat themselves since there is no salary,” one of the protesters, Enow Barnabas, said.
Some of the workers now sleep at the Shipyard’s premises because they have either been chased out by their landlords for unpaid rent or are running away from the landlord.
“Workers are suffering. Some of them now stay here in the shipyard because their landlords have sent them out over unpaid rent. They are managing in the yard, to sleep, and in the morning, they get up and continue working.” Added Enow Barnabas.
According to the disgruntled workers, Chantier Naval which was vibrant and number one to be respected in Africa, is now a shadow of itself, following its collapse.
“Working at Chantier Naval before used to give hope that one day your children will love working there. But where we are today we don’t have that hope due to the ill-treatment. Chantier Naval in the former days paid three months advanced salaries to civil servants. Today the reverse is true. We are instead owed months of salaries. Is it that, the Director General then was better than the current one?”. Asked Barnabas.
While demanding payment of their accumulated five months’ salaries and better working conditions, they also implored the Head of State to use his powers and get the company back on its feet.
“This company was created when he just took over power. So we want him to take the responsibility now to see how this company can come back to life because it is dying.
In a phone conversation with the Director General of Chantier Naval, he said he has been in Yaounde to negotiate with government authorities for the salaries and insurance issues to be solved.
The workers threaten to continue with the strike if quick action is not taken.
It should be underlined this is neither the first nor the 2nd time workers of the National Shipyard and Industrial Engineering company go on strike, demanding payment of salary arrears and decrying poor working conditions.
Source: Cameroon News Agency