The Littoral Regional Workers’ Week is seeking ways of improving working conditions. The avenue for discussion and experience-sharing known as Littoral Regional Workers, organised by the Regional Delegation of Labour and Social Security in Douala, began holding one week of intense discussions in Bonanjo yesterday, April 20, 2015. In focus was Diabetes, hypertension and HIV/AIDS screening to improve the conditions of work in the public and private sectors.

In his PowerPoint presentation on the on the theme of the 2015 Labour Day to be celebrated on May 1: “Building a Cameroon of peace, solidarity and decent work in the future,” the Inspector No. 2 in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Abdoulkadri, who presided the session, pointed to national and international instruments that guarantee the rights of workers to decent work.  “The word ‘decent’ as used together with ‘work’,” he pointed out, “also means decent salary, decent health, decent dressing, decent behaviour and all that concerns work.”

Participants, who were employees, general managers and trade union representatives, were advised to take violations of their rights to the relevant officials in the Ministry or Delegations of Labour and Social Security for redress. Nkono Balbine Elisabeth, the Littoral Regional Delegate for Labour and Social Security, said the innovation for the 2015 Regional Workers’ Week is to draw the attention of workers to the essentials of Labour Day. It is also an avenue to reflect on how to improve working conditions, train workers as well as sensitise them to shun over feasting, which previously stole attention from the focus of Labour Day.

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Dr. Gilbert Nana, Medical Services Manager of Nestlé Cameroon, said health was a requisite for decent work. “Our 2009-2012 malaria eradication programme showed that Nestlé Cameroon lost more than 5,000 hours of work due to malaria, suffered an increased insurance budget to about 32 per cent for a staff strength of 2,000 and their family members, as well as increase in absenteeism.  Sixty per cent of hospitalisation was due to malaria.”

As redress, every month for one year, 40 employees and 62 of their family members were each given treated bed nets, sprays, and repellent cream. The success rate in preventing malaria was 99 per cent; the other one per cent was due to the hospitalisation of two children who went on holidays in their villages and slept out of protection. “The key success factor is the application of buddy (peer) system,” the medic told Cameroon Tribune.

Christopher JATOR