FCCPC exposes inhuman treatment, violation of labour laws at steel company in Abia
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THE Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), has accused Inner Steel Company Limited located at Obehie, Ukwa-West Local Government Area of Abia State of unfair practices in its employment policies.
In a press statement sighted by The ICIR, Babatunde lrukera, Chief Executive Officer of FCCPC, said the Commission received allegations of unscrupulous, potentially illegal treatment and working conditions at the company.
Irukera said a fact-finding visit by operatives of the Commission from the South-East and South-South zonal offices revealed that employees were housed on work premises in less than ideal boarding conditions.
“Some employees felt restrained on-site and unable to leave, even though going home has been their preference,” he said.
According to him, a workplace injury previously occurred and led to an amputation with respect to an employee, adding that employees were required to work non-stop shifts of 11 hours with inadequate breaks.
Irukera further stated that there are possible questions about the company‘s compliance with prevailing standards for the steel/iron products it makes.
While noting that the vast majority of the conducts discovered were labour related matters and not consumer issues, the Commission wants the company to take steps to improve the living conditions of on-site employees including immediately purchasing foams/mattresses for their bunk beds, and cooling fans.
It asked the management of the company to modify required working hours from 11 to 8 hours daily effective immediately, adding that it must immediately discontinue mandatory quarantine on-site for employees who desire to depart the facility.
The FCCPC said the company must also improve on-site medical access and responsiveness.
While stating that the company has been under-monitored by relevant authorities, Irukera said the Commission would make recommendations to appropriate quarters for follow-up, monitoring and compliance purposes.
Regarding the quality of the company’s products, he disclosed that the Commission has opened an active investigation and is commencing materials testing to determine compliance with prevailing standards.
“The company recognizes it is under monitoring and supervision pending the satisfactory resolution of all outstanding or open issues. The Commission is making a fuller report and transmitting to the more relevant Ministry/Agency for follow up, monitoring and compliance,” he said.
“The enforcement mechanisms including penalties (where applicable) under relevant laws and processes of the appropriate ministry, department or agency, for violations in these circumstances should take their course.”