Sweepers employed by Dafunol International Limited, a contractor engaged by the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority, on Monday staged a peaceful protest over the non-payment of their five months’ salaries.
The sweepers who were in their sweeping kits and holding brooms spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria in front of Motorways Premises near 7-Up, Ikeja. They also carried placards with inscriptions appealing to the management of LAMATA to pay them their salaries.
They said that they were employed by the contractor who is into LAMATA Shelter Maintenance to be sweeping LAMATA-constructed bus shelters along Mile 12-Ketu –Ikorodu Road –Tafawa Balewa Square axis.
They said that they had not been paid since March 2017. Some of the inscriptions read: “LAMATA, pay us our salaries ever since the month of February,’’ “LAMATA, why are you denying us our money, you are punishing us.’’
Mrs Musiliu Akindele (70) one of the sweepers told NAN that their employer was initially paying each sweeper N10,000 per month before it was increased to N15,0000.
“We were only paid for January and February 2017. Our employer owes each of us five months’ salary arrears.
“Most of our children had been sent out of their schools over unpaid fees,’’ she said.
Akindele said that before now, their employer used to supply them brooms to work with. But now, we are responsible for them. With the non-payment of our salaries; we cannot afford them and this is affecting our service, she said.
“Each broom costs N200 and now that the salary is not paid, we have no means to buy them to work, ’’ she said.
Another sweeper, Mrs Morufat Egunjobi, who covers the LAMATA bus-stop shelters around Ketu, a Lagos suburb said that they usually work between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. Mondays through Sundays.
“We do not have duty off and no motivations from our employer. Yet, our employer owes us five months of unpaid salary arrears.
“Some of us who could not cope with the harsh situation had stopped working, the rest of us are doing it on empty promises that we will be paid one day.
“We are indebted to food sellers and they had refused to sell to us on credit anymore,’’ Egunjobi said.
Also, Mrs Mero Raifu, another sweeper said that she had cultivated the habit of trekking from Ijora-Badia to Costain where she was assigned LAMATA bus-stop shelters to be sweeping.
“I have been ejected from my rented apartment by my landlord because of my inability to pay my monthly rent.
“I now sleep inside a mosque.’’
Mrs Mojisola Adejuwon said that the sweepers had two meetings with their supervisors early in the year where they highlighted their plights and there was an assurance from the supervisors that they would pay them.
“We have to resort to this peaceful protest today because our supervisors seemed to have reneged on their promises.’’
Mr Abiodun Omaike said that he had been taking care of his family from borrowing from his neighbours.
“I live around Moshalashi-Idioro on Lagos Mainland while I am assigned to be sweeping four bus-stop shelters around Fadeyi and Onipanu every day.
“Instead of sweeping one bus-stop shelter, each sweeper is assigned to sweep between three and four on daily basis and we do not complain.
“Despite this multitasking, we are still being owed salaries by our employer.
“We are pleading with our employer: LAMATA and Dafunol International Limited, its contractor to pay us our standing salaries.
“Through that, we will have money to take care of ourselves and be able to work efficiently,’’ Omaike said.
The Head of Media and Communication, LAMATA, Mr Kola Ojelabi, said that the state government was processing the funds for the payment of the sweepers.