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La Casera shuts down operations over workers’ protests

The La Casera Company has said it shut down operations at its Mile 2 site on Apapa-Oshodi Expressway because it could no longer guaranty the safety of workers after its premises was invaded weekend, by over 200 demonstrators led by representatives of the National Union of Food, Beverages and Tobacco of Employees (NUFBTE).

In a statement Monday, by Tola Bademosi, spokesman of the company, said the invasion on its facility led to disruption of its production, alleging that workers were compelled to stop work and asked to sign consent forms by the unionists.

“Over 200 shouting demonstrators, some bussed in from out of state, broke into the factory which employs over 780 people at its site near Mile 2.

”Caught unawares with no prior notice, security guards were unable to hold back the unruly group who broke into the complex, entering offices and production areas. Production line workers were compelled to stop work and assemble in the factory yard where they were forced to sign membership consent forms to join the union on the spot. Some of those who refused to sign were brutalized.

”Employees who tried to film the disturbance on mobile phones were manhandled and had their phones taken away. Others signed under duress before taking the opportunity caused by a heavy downpour to flee the scene.”

“Unable to guarantee the safety of its workers, Management was compelled to shut operations and send everyone home. The plant has remained closed over the weekend with its fate uncertain as leaders of the mob have threatened to return again with an even larger force. Further communication from Management is expected soon.”

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Since its launch in Lagos 15 years ago, La Casera Apple Drink has become one of Nigeria’s top soft drink brands.

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