The national executive committee of CAAWOTU, a trade union of Cameroon Development Corporation, CDC, workers, has stated all workers of the corporation will start an industrial action (strike) beginning from February this year.
In a January 9 communique addressed to the Head of State and Head of Government, CDC workers’ union says up to 10,000 workers are on technical leave (temporarily laid off); 20 others have lost their lives in the ongoing Anglophone conflict; and current workers do not receive frequent salaries.
Efforts to organize discussions with CDC’s management have all been futile as workers of the second largest employer in Cameroon languish in poor working conditions and government neglect, according to the workers’ union.
“…our trade union has participated in several bipartite meetings with the CDC top management since 2018 till date and no permanent solution is available…. competent public authorities have never replied to our joined memorandum of 08/06/2018 or convened a tripartite meeting to seek for a permanent solution,” CAAWOTU stated.
The CDC workers’ union stated that they are declaring a labour dispute, which is a disagreement with their employer, the State, on their wages, working conditions and the employment agreement.
“… failing to organize a tripartite meeting with competent state authorities, an industrial action of four (4) days shall be organized in the beginning of February 2021 in all establishments of CDC.”
The Cameroon Development Corporation is the second largest employer in Cameroon after the government, with 22,036 workers in 2014.
It was made a corporation in 1947, and CDC operates in the Southwest and Littoral regions of Cameroon, specialising in producing rubber, oil palm, and Banana.
Workers of the institution have often been targeted and harassed by armed separatists in the English-speaking regions.
In January 2019, some six workers of the establishment were harassed by gunmen and their fingers cut off by separatist fighters.
The crisis in the English-speaking regions has severely affected the establishment and has caused a drop in the overall production of rubber, banana and palm oil in Cameroon, with banana exports witnessing an 8% drop in 2020, according to the government.
By January 2019, the corporation had already lost FCFA 35 billion due to the adverse economic impact of the Anglophone crisis.