With about twenty thousand contracts of employment and a related monthly wage bill of about FCFA 2.5 billion, the crisis in the North West and South West Regions and the COVID-19 pandemic have weighed down on the Cameroon Development Corporation, CDC.
While the CDC is struggling to stand on its feet with government support and the willingness of the workers to get back to work, months of unpaid salaries seem to be throwing a spanner in the works.
For a while now, workers in some of the units of the CDC have staged protests decrying the non-payment of accrued salaries. On November 12, workers at CDC’s Bota Engineering yard went on strike, demanding months of unpaid salary.
A day after the protest, Eric Nzegge, Director of Human Resources at the CDC told journalists that the corporation’s management is exploring avenues to pay the workers, but patience is key.
“The General Manager of the Cameroon Development Corporation is very much concerned about the difficult situation that the workers are going through and CDC strives every other day to ensure that the workers are paid,” The Post quotes Nzegge as saying.
Nzegge said CDC General Manager, Franklin Ngoni Njie urges workers to exercise a little more patience, given that work is only now resuming, albeit timidly, in most of the corporation’s estates.
Since the Anglophone crisis morphed into an armed conflict in 2017, CDC palm, banana, and rubber plantations were forced to shut down. Gunmen kidnapped workers, maimed others, and went on to destroy CDC installations.
As such, the agro-industrial company has been unable to meet its financial obligations. It has, over the year depended on growing oil palms, rubber, and bananas and then selling its produce. The proceeds then go to pay workers and maintain the corporation. As such, when workers work, the CDC makes money and pays them.
“We are hoping, as work is timidly resuming in most of the estates, that whenever there is money, the workers shall be paid,” Nzegge said. He adds that about a month’s salary was paid to the workers a few weeks back, but understands it may not be enough.
A ‘Statement of Assurance’ from the management of the company states: “Conscious of the ongoing difficulties faced by the Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC) as a result of the current socio-political unrest in the Northwest and Southwest Regions, acknowledging the fact that ten of our estates are almost entirely shut down, putting over five thousand jobs at risk, we wish to state that, being the sole owner of the Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC), the State of Cameroon has duly been informed of the prevailing situation.
“While waiting for the State to provide a lasting solution to the crisis, all workers of the Cameroon Development Corporation are enjoined to remain calm and forward-looking, as management is doing all it takes to ensure that things unfold in their best interest. We are hopeful that the powers that be will do all that is necessary to keep the CDC afloat.”
Culled from Cameroon Info.Net