By Monsuru Olowoopejo
LAGOS—HUNDREDS of workers, under the Cleaner Lagos Initiative, CLI, yesterday, stormed the office of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, accusing Visionscape of poor welfare package and unpaid salaries.
Mr. John Irvine
The protesters, including pregnant sweepers, alleged that Visionscape, the company contracted by the state government to manage the waste collection, failed to fulfill all promises made at the inception of their employment.
Some of the placards carried by the protesting workers were: ‘Visionscape and Environment and others, ‘Don’t make life difficult for us’, ‘Accumulation of salary.’ ‘We don’t want deduction of salary’, ‘don’t politicise our lives”, ‘Governor should know sweepers are also voters’, among others.
Speaking on behalf of the aggrieved cleaners, Mr. Atobiloye Olajide, lamented the shabby treatment meted out on them by Visionscape, saying, we were not treated fairly at all.
Olajide said: “We don’t understand Visionscape again. Our salaries are no longer paid. We are tired of the company. We were not given any tool to work. We buy the tools from our salaries, and that is why we have come here to protest against the sharp practices of the company.
“When we complain, they will say that our case has been transferred to the Ministry of Environment. When we get to the ministry, we would be told that our files are not with them. That is why we have come here to plead with the governor to intervene.”
Also lamenting, another aggrieved cleaner, Ugochukwu Gift said: “They promised to give us loan after three months of employment and provide life assurance package but it is sad that we have not received any from Visionscape. At inception, they promised to give us two uniforms and safety boots. But rather than fulfill the promises, we only received one uniform and the shoes haven’t been replaced.”
A pregnant cleaner, Oluwatosin Oduntan, described the attitude of the Visionscape officials as unprofessional, revealing that one of the sweepers was denied financial assistance until death after being knocked down by a vehicle.
Lagos govt keeps mum
Efforts to get the State Government’s reaction proved abortive but a source within the Ministry of the Environment hinted that the state government has commenced an audit of the sweepers to ensure payment of outstanding salaries.