Construction workers around the world protested the merger of two multinational cement companies, Lafarge and Holcim, over workers’ rights last week.

According to a report by the Daily Independent construction workers under aegis of Construction and Civil Engineering Senior Staff Association (CCESSA) and Chemical and Non-Metallic Products Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (CANMPSSA), in Lagos joined other constructions workers in 22 countries in the world to protest.

Addressing the workers, who displayed placards with the slogan: “No merger without workers’ rights”, CCESSA’s National President, Augustine Etafo, said the marriage of the two companies would cause over 15 000 job loss in the short run and 50 000 in the long run, the newspaper reported.

Over 8000 workers in the construction sector lost their jobs in 2014 due to non-payment of funds to contractors handling various jobs for the Federal government.

Etafo said: “Today, global unions BWI and industrial EFBWW, Holcim and Larfage workers around the world are kicking off the campaign to guarantee that the condition of workers in parts of the business that are sold off be protected and guarantee that all workers collective agreements be honoured by the merged company.

“We also want both companies to maintain a global level of social dialogue that Larfage previously participated with the unions and most importantly, the companies to consult with workers and their unions in this merger process.”

He noted that the merger of Lafarge and Holcim worldwide in the first half of 2015 would result in a company with 130 000 workers and both companies have refused unions’ demands for transparency and genuine dialogue during the process.

According to Etafo, the protest followed a meeting of 75 union leaders from 22 countries held in November 2014, which recommended a program of actions against the merger in 2015.

“Both Lafarge and Holcim have refused unions’ demands for transparency and genuine dialogue during this process,” he said.

The Daily Independent