Limbe (Fako) - The week-old tension between 134 workers of the Limbe branch of the Cameroon Shipyard and Industrial Engineering Limited (French acronym, CNIC) has been brokered Friday, 19 January, 2018, by the South West Chief Executive, Governor Bernard Okalia Bilai. The Governor promised to send an envoy to Limbe today (23 January) to check if all have received their dues.
In the presence of Forgwei Alfred Mbeng, General Manager of CNIC, the South West Regional Delegate of Labour and Social Securities, Yvette Lyonga and her counterpart of Littoral Region, the South West Governor, Bernard Okalia Bilai, listened to the aggrieved staff of the ship repairing company for close to two hours. Apparently firm but not violent, the workers were asking for clarification as to whether the relocation to Douala of 134 of the 250 workforce of the Limbe CNIC by a note dated 12 January, 2018, was a sacking or a transfer.
In case it was a transfer then “we should be paid transport allowance, given 10 days to resettle in Douala and paid 33 percent of salary due to displacement of families during school period”, the spokespersons argued. The workers spokespersons Abega Joseph and Guitang Jean Paul explained to the Governor quoting relevant contractual texts of the CNIC.
Governor Okalia Bilai insisted to know from the CNIC General Manager if the note mobilizing the 134 staff from Limbe to Douala was a termination as claimed by the workers or a relocation. The General Manager confirmed that it was a transfer but that eventually most of them would join the train of retrenchment for economic reasons. The removals, Forgwei explained, were decided by an earlier Board of Directors meeting of CNIC following the process of restructuring ordered in 2016 by the Prime Minister, Head of Government. The Governor promised to supervise the payment of the displaced workers in conformity with labour laws in force in Cameroon.
Meanwhile, the CNIC Ltd had on 15 January this year terminated the employment of 270 employees from a workforce of 800 for reasons linked to economic survival of the company. On 11January, this year, Forgwei Alfred Mbeng, General Manager, floated a note explaining that retrenchment was sequel to Government’s prescription to restructure the ailing company whose turnover drastically fell from CFA 40 Billion to CFA Three Billion in recent times.
Since 2016, management had elaborated a salvage plan spanning till 2020.
The plan detailed the restructuring in phases beginning with voluntary departures and proceeding with retrenchments. Of the about 800 employees, the CNIC has planned to fire some 470 to allow the stability of the company. The restructuring would cost the company some CFA 2.1 Billion wholesomely, the General Manager explained to the Governor and the workers in Limbe.