By Isidore AbahBrasseries

Cameroon’s premier brewing company, Les Brasseries du Cameroun on Friday, June 19, 2015, in Buea, Southwest Region, honoured some 20 workers with 30 glittering labour medals.

The workers were splendidly adorned for their hard work, dedicated services, probity, assiduity, moral rectitude and a high degree of efficiency, which they have exhibited to the company during their various years of services.

The solemn, but remarkable labour award ceremony was presided over by the Minister of Labour and Social Security, Grégoire Owona, in the presence of the General Manager, GM, of Les Brasseries du Cameroun, Francis Batista, the Southwest Regional Director of the company, Gustave Zoa and other top shots of Government and the population friendly company.

Welcoming the dignitaries at the event, the Southwest staff representative, John Ade, thanked all for prioritising the medal award ceremony over other personal engagements, especially Minister Owona and Les Brasseries GM, Batista.

The presence of the dignitaries at the occasion, he said, was eloquent testimony of the importance they attach to the labour conditions of employees in Cameroon.

According to Ade, since officially assuming his function as GM of Les Brasseries du Cameroun,Batista has not only proven to be a square peak in a square hole, but has equally carried out sweeping reforms to upgrade the working conditions of workers amongst which are; the systematic increase in workers’ salaries, the provision of healthcare allowances to personnel, the promotion of social dialogue between workers and the honing of workers’ skills through conferences, seminars and refresher courses.

This move, the staff representative said, has endeared the GM to the workers, not only in the manner in which he is piloting the affairs of the company, but also for his encouragement of social dialogue between workers and his down to earth policy.

The spokesperson of Les Brasseries workers in the Southwest Region also thanked the erstwhile GM of Les Brasseries du Cameroun, André Siaka, for his unwavering attitude in managing the activities of the company for a quarter of a century.

According to Ade, despite the daunting odds such as economic slumps and unnecessary competition from other companies that characterised the former GM’s era, Siaka stood firm and marshaled the company to become competitive in the world market.

To the laureates of the labour medals, their staff representative congratulated them for the atmosphere of camaraderie and social calm that prevails in the Region. According to him, it is the camaraderie, social calm and cohesion that have made the Southwest Region to emerge as the best Region in terms of sales in Cameroon, despite the demise of the Regional Director, Michel Mvondo.

Ade however cautioned the medals recipients not to “see the medals as compensation, but as recognition for a job well done. These medals shouldn’t make you to go and lie on your laurels, but rather, the medals should spur you to work even harder and better.”

Speaking at the medal award ceremony, the General Manager of Les Brasseries du Cameroun,Francis Batista, commended the workers of the company, most especially the medals recipients for their diligent services to the company.

The medal award ceremony, according to the GM, is an accomplishment of a blistery career to some workers, to others; it is a transition from one level to the next, while to some it is the beginning of greater things to come.

The GM thanked his predecessor for his enormous contribution in keeping the company afloat, despite the overwhelming odds that were stacked against him.

Apart from being the largest private employer of thousands of Cameroonians, Batista boasted that Les Brasseries du Cameroun is the highest private revenue contributor to the State with annual tax of 300 billion.

The GM thanked the Government through the Minister of Labour and Social Security for her constant support to the company.

The French born and former Assistant Director General of STAR Breweries, Madagascar, urged the workers of the company to, as a matter of the corporate social responsibility of the company contribute their own quota to the economic emergence of Cameroon.

Presiding over the event, Minister Grégoire Owona thanked Les Brasseries du Cameroun for contributing enormously to the State revenue and for providing solace to young Cameroonians through employment.

He lauded the management of the company for making social dialogue one of its key canons. This, he said, encourages cohesion among the workers.
He assured the workers of the company:
“I have keenly listened to your problems, especially the need for decent work and I can assure you that Government is already working on it”.

Minister Owona appreciated the recipients of the medals for working hard to put the company on a global pedestal.

Speaking to The Post after her decoration with a silver guild medal, Laura Bassoua said she was excited that after 15 years of selfless services to the company, her efforts have been recognised by the company. According to her, the medal will spur her to work even harder.

Another worker who was adorned with a gold labour medal, Pierre Ngolle, said he was fulfilled with the services he has rendered to the company and for the company to have recognised his efforts in turn.

This, he said, is because Stores Accountants are always regarded as thieves by the hierarchy of most companies. Ngolle said 29 years ago, 24 of them were we recruited by Les Brasseries du Cameroun as Stores Accountants, “but today I am the only one left. Others have been fired.

This is because I do my work with honesty and integrity.”
It should be noted that the 20 workers were decorated with three different labour medals namely; Silver (10 years and above), Silver Gilt (15 years and above) and Gold (20 years and above)