Workers in Lafarge, a multimillion naira cement plant in Mfamosing in Akamkpa Local Government Area of Cross River State have alleged domination of the company by expatriates.
The workers mostly those at the Mfamosing Plant had expressed worry over the dominance of expatriate in the company, saying, virtually all the departments under the new management of Lafarge Plc had been taken over by foreigners.
For instance, one of the workers who pleaded for anonymity said a position such as that of Utility Manager of the organisation has had a foreigner occupying it for over 10 years. Other areas where foreign expatriates had dominated, according to another worker, include security, logistics, finance and safety departments.
He said, “I feel so sad each day I go to the office because the available vacancies are constantly being taken over by foreigners in a country where thousands of qualified graduates are jobless. Our people are suffering in the midst of plenty.
“Opportunities that should naturally be our rights are not given to us. What is a foreigner doing as a Utility Manager for 10 years in jobs that Nigerians can effectively do?”
But reacting swiftly to the allegation, the Director in charge of Communications, Public Affairs and Sustainable Development, Mrs. Folashade Ambrose-Medebem, said the claims were untrue.
She said out of the 95 expatriate allocation approved by the Ministry of the Interior for the Mfamosing Plant, only seven of the positions are being occupied by expatriates.
Ambrose-Medebem said, “Our attention has been drawn to unfounded allegations by unidentified persons in Mfamosing, Cross River State that Lafarge Africa Plc may have exceeded its expatriate quota for the plant. For the avoidance of doubt, we would wish to clarify.
“From August 2015 to date, Lafarge Africa Plc has received approval from the Ministry of Interior of 95 expatriate positions for the Mfamosing plant through United Nigeria Cement Company Limited, a subsidiary of Lafarge Africa Plc.
“Of these 95 positions duly approved by the Ministry of the Interior, only seven of the positions are being occupied by the expatriates. This is less than 10 per cent of our approved expatriate allocation. All other positions are filled by Nigerians.”
While noting that the allegations were untrue, Ambrose-Medebem said Lafarge Africa Plc had always given equal opportunity to its employees.
She stressed that the company was committed to its policy on fairness and equality to employees, adding that it would always abide by government’s rules.
By Edem Bassey,