The firm said it obeys existing labour laws.
The China Civil Engineering Construction Company, CCECC, on Saturday denied accusations of abuse and anti-labour practices, saying salaries and allowances to its workers are in line with the National Joint Industrial Council, NJIC, regulations.
The casual workers of the Chinese firm protested outside the company’s office along the Lagos-Badagry Expressway in Lagos over alleged poor working conditions in Lagos and other parts of Nigeria; including inadequate welfare package, assault by Chinese supervisors, lack of basic salaries and increment in take home pay.
Some also alleged that they resume at 6:00 a.m. and close at 6:00 p.m. daily while others said that they were hired as carpenters, but forced to work as gardeners and bricklayers on the same pay.
But, Deputy Manager, Materials and Equipment Department, CCECC, Wang Chunjing, said the salaries of the company’s staff are not only paid as and when due, but also reviewed every two years in compliance with NJIC stipulations.
“The workers’ salaries are paid according to their positions. The lowest positions, which are gardeners, carpenters, bricklayers and other, get about N55 to N60 per hour; and about N10, 000 monthly apart from the allowance. The two hours a day allowance is 1.5 per cent of the basic salary. If it is a public holiday we double the allowance,’’ Mr. Chunjing said.
According to him, the company, which is handling several construction contracts across the country, has about 50 regular staff and more than 200 casual workers who are paid by their supervisors, while engaging more casuals workers if there are more jobs to be done.
He said this was why the workers work both at weekends and on public holidays to be able to complete the on-going construction of light rail project. He said the company was not compelling workers to be on duty during public holidays, to work extra hours or to be at duty posts at weekends.
“If the workers are saying they are not aware of the time stipulation, the Personal Manager is in the position to explain to them the terms before they start work,’’ he said.
On the swapping of jobs, Mr. Chunjing explained that if a carpenter or mason’s job was finished, the company could use the person in the section or area that had job so as not to lay them off.
“You cannot deploy a bricklayer to be a personal manager. The manual job is where he can function well. I do not see what is wrong with a carpenter being asked to be a gardener,’’ the deputy manager said.
Mr. Chunjing also said the firm used to convert some casuals to staff twice in a year, adding that the number converted was based on the number of casual workers available.
On alleged assault on workers, he said if it ever occurred, it could be because of disobedience and laziness of any worker; adding that the management frowned at such misbehaviours to promote harmonious relationships between the workers and their supervisors.