Mouka Denies Ordering Arrest of Protesting Workers
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The management of Mouka Limited, makers of mattresses in the country, has denied claims that it ordered the arrest of protesting workers on its premises last week.
On Thursday, August 12, 2021, some employees of the company staged a demonstration at the office of the organisation over what they described as unfair treatment by the management.
The protest was initially peaceful until it degenerated into violence, prompting the intervention of security officials, who went away with the aggrieved workers.
It was gathered that the demonstration resulted in the destruction of some properties within the company and its environs and Mouka has blamed the staff for this.
In a statement issued over the week, Mouka claimed that it never asked the police to arrest the agitators despite allegedly disrupting business activities on its premises and attacking other employees who refused to join them.
The firm said it was saddened that these employees could run to social media to “blackmail, intimidate and embarrass Mouka in order to justify their illegal disruption of work and molestation of law-abiding and peaceful staff of the company.”
“To put the record straight, Mouka Limited has robust staff welfare with a proud tradition of providing welfare benefits that go above and beyond the expected duty of care to the Mouka staff and their families.
“The company is committed to investing in people to ensure capacity building and readiness for future career growth. As a good corporate citizen, Mouka has also significantly contributed to the local communities in which it operates,” a part of the statement made available to Business Post read.
Explaining the genesis of the crisis, the company said, “As part of Mouka’s continuous improvement plans, the company recently undertook a restructuring program which engaged almost 10 per cent of the Mouka people across all employee grades and in all locations nationwide.
“The major objectives of this exercise were to strengthen operations and to provide career development opportunities for key deserving employees.
“However, as it is the case with every progressive development in corporate organizations, a few will resent the change. Unfortunately, the resentment of the current few agitators does not align with the majority.”
“The event of Thursday, August 12, 2021, whereby a few staff who were agitating unjustly for some personal demands, staged a protest which initially started as peaceful but later degenerated into harassment and attack of other staffers who had refused to be recruited into this anti-operation activity.
“Even then, the company being a law-abiding corporate organization, maintains an unprovoked stance even while the troublemakers continue throwing stones and objects at distributors, visitors and other staffers of the company.
“Unfortunately, the following day, the agitating few had recruited some non-staff hoodlums to join the agitation and they became violent. When the law enforcement agents who had all along been there to maintain peace and order could no longer bear the escalating attack on persons and an attempt to attack them, they called for reinforcement and effected the arrest of the few troublemakers.
“The company is disappointed that the actions of a few led to some unsavoury scenes in the roadways outside of the premises and in the immediate community. The company used all resources available to avoid this matter escalating into a civil disturbance requiring intervention, to no avail,” it further said.
The firm further stressed that, “We want to state categorically that Mouka management did not order for the arrest of any staff nor the violent few.”
“However, despite the fact that the arrests have not been ordered by the management of our company, efforts are being made to resolve the issue provided the violent attack and the infringement of other workers’ rights ceases.
“Our hope is that reason and good conscience will prevail in this circumstance as our company continues to remain focused on investing in the careers and livelihoods of our loyal, committed, and dedicated employees,” it stated.