Nigerian authorities have raided a Chinese steel company in the southeastern Abia state over “potentially illegal treatment and working conditions” for employees, local media reported on Friday.
According to news website Politics Nigeria, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) carried out the raid on Thursday after reports of substandard conditions surfaced in the media.
“The information received alleged unscrupulous and potentially illegal treatment and working conditions at Inner Steel’s factory,” FCCPC head Babatunde Irukera was quoted as saying in a statement.
“Although it was unclear how the subject conduct falls within the mandate of the FCCPC, regardless, the Commission proceeded in an abundance of caution, considering treatment of citizens was implicated in the report, and the urgency required made it expedient to deploy anyway,” he said.
The statement said the company executives and representatives “were cooperative and provided requested information.”
The authority’s initial findings were that “employees are housed on work premises in less than ideal boarding conditions” and are “required to work non-stop shifts of 11 hours with inadequate breaks.”
The statement said there were also “possible questions about the company’s compliance with prevailing standards for the steel/iron products it makes.”
“With respect to the work-related accident that led to serious injuries (amputation), considering the circumstances are currently subject of litigation, the company was disinclined to make statements,” the FCCPC added.
The commission said it “has secured an express and urgent commitment” from the Chinese firm to immediately take steps to improve conditions for workers.
The news report said the changes include proper accommodation for workers and an adherence to eight-hour shifts.
“Regarding the quality of the company’s products, the Commission has opened an active investigation and is commencing materials testing to determine compliance with prevailing standards,” the FCCPC further said.
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