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Cameroon – Exploitation: FODER reveals the ordeal of employees of mining companies in the Eastern region

Written by Deckson N.

The Forêts et Développement Rural (FODER) has produced a study on working conditions in this part of the country.

FODER has produced a study on the working conditions of employees of mining companies in the eastern region of Cameroon. According to Le Quotidien de l’Économie newspaper published on 25 April, this study is part of the Mines-Environment Health and Society Project (Projet Mines-Environnement Santé et Société – PROMESS) funded by the European Union.

The FODER team visited the Bétaré-Oya, Ngoura, Batouri, Yokadouma and Ngoyla subdivisions. 19 enterprises mainly engaged in the mechanized artisanal mining and the industrial mining were the main targets. It was questioned whether the 245 employees of the said companies had an employment contract complying with the rules on pay, method of payment, working hours and working days.

From the study, it appears that 30% of companies have issued employment contracts to their employees. Almost all foreigners do not have a contract of employment to which the administration in charge of Employment and Vocational Training as required by the regulations applies.

77.08% of employees do not have an employment contract. They work in companies whose owners are of Chinese nationality. 44% and 35% of workers are hired by employers who are respectively of Chinese and Cameroonian nationality.

Employees whose employers are of Chinese nationality do not have a contract of employment, whereas all those whose employer is of Australian nationality hold a contract. Moreover, no worker of Chinese nationality has the employment contracts. According to the latter, their employment contracts are held by their employer, who mostly resides in the metropolises of Douala, Yaoundé, Bertoua or China.

The number of working days in the mining yards varies from 5 to 7 and night work is done there every day. Approximately 72.92 per cent of employees work at night and 82.86 per cent say night work is paid at the same rate as the day’s work. 70.8% of workers surveyed are paid on the basis of a monthly flat rate and the others a daily wage. Apart from interpreters and drivers of machines with a relatively high salary, salaries vary for other functions or jobs from 3000 to 4000 FCFA per day in Chinese and Cameroonian companies.

Out of 30 companies identified on the field only eight are listed in the CNPS affiliation directory. Among the companies affiliated to the CNPS of Bertoua, 5 are indebted to the CNPS of Bertoua. Only 3% of employees report that their employers pay their social contributions to the CNPS.

Workers have no health coverage. They live in homes that are not safe, have no access to toilets and clean water. Similarly, group and individual protection measures are not present in the work sites. All of the women surveyed are serving as maintenance workers.

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Deckson N.