BY EMMA NJOKU
Transport workers of Dangote Group of Industries have made a passionate plea to the management to improve their working conditions to make life better for them.
Some of the drivers that spoke to Daily Sun on condition of anonymity lamented that while their colleagues in the industries section live like kings and queens, they in the transport section, particularly the drivers, who toil day and night on the highways freighting products of the firm to the final consumers, live from hand to mouth.
“Our colleagues in the industries live like kings and queens while those of us in the transport section are suffering,” one of the drivers who does not want his name in print lamented.
The drivers were reacting to a recent advertorial in some national daily newspapers where the management of Dangote Industries Limited offered to pay N500,000 as reward to anybody with useful information that could lead to the arrest of its truck driver(s) that carry other goods outside Dangote products.
“The ‘illegal haulage alert’ published in some national dailies has created a lot of problems for us (drivers) because both the police and all manner of persons now stop us on the roads demanding to search the trucks for ‘illegal’ products since everybody wants to be rewarded with N500,000,” another driver who also pleaded anonymity said.
“The situation not only causes unnecessary delay in delivering the products because we now have to stop at every 200 metres for desperate law enforcement agents seeking to be rewarded with N500,000. Besides, we’re now at the mercy of hoodlums who could pose as law enforcement agents with fake uniforms pretending to search the trucks for illegal products.
“The worth of goods in an average truck carrying Dangote products from Lagos to Kano, for instance, is estimated at about N7 million and we make a lot of sacrifices to get these goods to their destinations. Sometimes, a driver may encounter a problem with his truck while on such delivery trips and if he senses that the area where the vehicle broke down is not safe, he would do everything within his means, including selling part of his diesel, to get the truck out of the danger zone to safety,” the driver further explained.
Only recently, a member of the management of Dangote Group was quoted as saying on a radio programme that their drivers earn as much as N160,000 as monthly salary, a claim that is said to have been refuted by the Chairman/CEO of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote.
However, one of the truck drivers said no worker in the transport section of Dangote Group earns more than N25,000 as monthly salary.
“I can show you my pay slip, I’m a senior driver with Dangote Group; the total package of my monthly salary is N25,000; and after tax and other deductions, it comes to about N24,000. The truth is that some transport workers’ basic salary is as little as N3,000,” the truck driver disclosed.
“As I speak with you, because of the false claim by the management that Dangote drivers earn N160,000 as monthly salary, two of my colleagues have been deserted by their wives on the grounds their husbands had lied to them that they were not well paid,” the driver bemoaned.
“We are appealing to the management to look into our plight rather than make things more difficult for us. The law against illegal haulage has been there right from time and every driver with Dangote Group knows it. The recent publication would only create more problem than solution,” the drivers concluded.
Source : SunOnline