Congo: discrimination and illegal practices in cement factory

A UK cement works
A UK cement works

Congolese workers at a cement factory in Loutété are working in what they describe as slave conditions.

Submitted by jef costello on May 7, 2007

Workers for Société nouvelle des ciments du Congo (Sonocc), are being paid merely 20,000 CFA (£20) per month in spite of an agreement signed with management promising them 46,799 (£49). The supposed minimum wage in Congo is 50,000 CFA per month.

The factory was rebuilt after the civil war by Chinese investors. Workers complain that their is a two-tiered staffing policy. Chinese workers are allowed to use the company infirmary whereas Congolese workers are not, even in the case of workplace accidents.

Workers are denied the right to form unions, relying on two 'representatives' named by management, and are afraid to speak out for fear of losing their jobs. As a result they are forced to accept that there is neither holiday pay, nor even sick pay for workers.