EXPOSED! How Oriental Hotel Flouts Labour Laws, Fakes Staff Bus To Deceive Labour Union

5 Min Read
EXPOSED! How Oriental Hotel Flouts Labour Laws, Fake Staff Bus To Deceive Labour Union

Lagos Oriental Hotel is in the news for violation of multiple Nigerian labour laws by paying some of its full-time staff a monthly salary of N25,000, which is N5,000 less than the stipulated minimum wage for workers across the federation.

The Herald reports that West Africa Weekly outlined grossly inhumane conditions of the workers of the four-star hotel located at Lekki, Lagos, as well as egregious breaches of laws regarding employee transportation and safety.

According to the National Minimum Wage Act, as signed by former President Muhammadu Buhari on April 18, 2019, Section 3 (1) mandates that every employer, except as exempted under the Act, pay its employee a wage of not less than the sum of N30,000 (National Minimum Wage) per month.

Oriental Hotel in total disregard to the stance of the National Minimum Wage Act continued paying its workers below this sum and only increased it to N30,000 sometime in June 2023.

The breakdown of the remuneration paid to these staff reveals that workers at the hotel are expected to pay their own taxes with no other benefits listed in the contract agreement. In effect, the hotel avoids paying taxes by treating its full-time service staff as temporary contractors and shifts the statutory burden for tax payment to some of the worst-paid full-time employees in Nigeria.

Oriental Hotel’s employment contract stipulates that employees are entitled to a monthly service charge point. Yet, any request for unpaid leave would attract a three percent reduction in the month’s service charge per day while absence from duty without the management’s approval would attract a ten percent reduction from the said points.

Not only does the hotel grossly underpay some of its staff, but the report disclosed that while the hotel’s Operations Manager, Taiwo Alli, and the German General Manager, Philip Spielhagen are millionaires who drive multiple luxury vehicles including Mercedes Benz G500 among others, the hotel does not possess and has made no provision for a staff bus. Regardless, the management expects the afternoon shift workers to return home after crossing shift by 11 pm despite no provision for transport nor accommodation.

Section 14 of the Labour Act

According to the anonymous insider, this has forced staff who cannot return home, given the late hour, to sleep over in the filthy changing room – which the hotel severely frowns upon – so as not to fall victim to late-hour insecurity.

“There’s no staff bus whatsoever. No layover. Yet they expect workers to go home without a staff bus. But the so-called African Director, Mr. Taiwo, and Phillip are millionaires if not billionaires, owning cars from G. wagon and other luxurious cars.”

He also alleged that the hotel has been using the staff bus belonging to Huawei – whose offices are in the hotel complex- to disguise the fact that the management does not provide a staff bus. In a sham move to deceive the Labour Union into thinking it has availed its workers with one, the Director and General Manager once directed a worker to show the Union the Huawei staff bus as though it belonged to the Hotel.

“Oriental management and WEMPCO to be precise are using Huawei staff bus to disguise like they own a staff bus. Recently, Huawei added more than seven staff buses to theirs due to more offices being built in the Oriental Hotel. There was a time last year when the Labour Union came. The African Director Taiwo and the GM Philip had to tell a staff member to take them to the Huawei staff bus to show them like it was for Oriental Staff.”

While the report points out the minimum wage misconduct, it also states unequivocally that there is no provision for a staff bus, despite Lagos Oriental Hotel’s failure to provide accommodation but workers are expected to show up to work on time and without exception under such conditions.

The exclusive visuals of the employees’ locker room below reveals a glimpse into the conditions suffered by the Oriental Hotel employees at the literal and figurative bottom of the totem pole, as they support the 12 floors of 4-star, N120,000/night luxury above them.

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