Yaoundé (National Times)-Former temporary workers of the Shipyard Engineering Company of Cameroon popularly known by its French appellation as Chantier Naval have taken their protest over years of unpaid arrears to the esplanade of the Prime Minister’s Office.
On Monday, November 26, the placard-wielding protesters were at the gate of the Prime Minister’s Office, protesting and demanding Government to cough out their money.
As the Head of Government drove to work for a new week, the sight of the workers outside on protest was what greeted his caravan.
At the scene of the protest, one of the former workers, Emmanuel Ngah, told journalists that their suffering has gone beyond comprehension.
Ngah said, most of the workers have died due to hardship, others have divorced their wives and their children can no longer go to school.
Ngah on behalf of his colleagues, said they have taken the protest to Yaoundé so that those who ordered for their money to be paid should know that the instructions have not been respected since 2017.
Another former worker averred that they have embarked on a peaceful protest following several unfruitful trips to Yaoundé. The worker who refused to be named told reporters that, insiders hinted them that money is available.
Following the protest, the Prime Minister’s Office is yet to issue a statement on the plight of the protesting workers. Most of them are using the protest to remind Government of their sacrifices to construct a temporary bridge to link the South West and Littoral Region when the Moungo Bridge collapsed.
The Yaoundé protest comes after a similar action in front of the Littoral Governor’s office in Douala on September 21 this year.
On September 6, the former workers addressed a memo to Governor Dieudonne Ivaha Diboua, promising to protest in front of the Presidential Palace in Yaounde if their grievances were not addressed.
Then, their target as per the memo was to block President Biya on return from a summit in China. That did not materialise. In 2017, the Prime Minister is said to have received instructions from the President of the Republic to address the grievances of the former shipyard workers.
Chantier Naval has not known instability since the arrest and jailing of its former boss, Zacheus Mongwe Fonjindam over embezzlement of public funds.
In the Fonjindam era, the company received congratulatory messages from the Head of State Paul Biya given its high profit margins then.