Bunmi sat in her office all stressed out as a musical video played on her TV screen. It has been two weeks since SJC suffered the huge financial mess and she has spent the two weeks taking care of her father who also collapsed on hearing the latest misfortune that befell the company and also taking care of the company. Even though she had Collins to thank for his indefatigable efforts at bringing to company back up.
Production had since reduced as the factory workers had gone on a strike after their salaries and bonuses are not paid yet. The board of directors have recommended ‘sack’ options for the production manager, the sales manager and the finance manager, but thanks to Bunmi who singlehandedly dissolved the board of directors at SJC.
Even though production was starting to come back up, it is not just enough as SJC which was once number one in the country is now wallowing in the tenth position having lost about sixty percent of its revenue.
The intercom rang. “Yes?” Bunmi said once she answered the call.
“Ma’am, the factory workers are on another protest.” Her secretary informed.
Bunmi stared blankly at the TV screen. “Why can’t this people give us time to sort ourselves out?” She thought.
“Call Mr Collins. He has their master key and should be able to calm down.” She instructed her secretary.
“Mr Collins is there already, but it seems he is having a hard time with them today, cos they demanded seeing the President.” Her secretary replied.
“You know what? I’ll go out there and talk to them.” Bunmi said.
“Okay ma’am.” With this, the line went dead.
Bunmi immediately stood up, adjusted her cloth, even without a mirror. Satisfied with her looks, she stepped out of her office. Her secretary wish her luck as she stepped out of the admin department where she her office is located and as soon as she stepped onto the pavement outside, the protesters who were a couple of yards away, listening to Collins tore away from him and ran towards her.
“Will you continue to owe us our pay? We worked for you guys, we should be paid.” One of the worker, a stout ugly man said.
Even though the factory workers are regarded as casuals who bore no immediate importance to the company, they are often regarded as the backbone as they handle production which in turn generate funds. It is not a new thing to sack protesting factory workers, but sacking all of them at the time when the financial fortunes of the company is in a downturn could only
mean the end.
By now, Collins had walked up to where Bunmi stood, and it was only then she noticed he wasn’t alone. Even while addressing the aggrieved workers, he had beside him the HR manager, Rukayat.
“Can you handle it?” Collins asked as he held her hand.
“I think I can. You’ve done enough.” She whispered.
“All we ask for is a few weeks to sort out our issues.
Once that is done, you would be paid and everything will go back to normal.” Bumi pleaded to the workers.
“No, I have a family to feed.”
“Few weeks? Do you want my sick mother dead?”
“I am the breadwinner of my family, few weeks is like forever.”
“You rich people are very heartless. You ate salad before coming to work today, I ate nothing. In the last one week, I haven’t eaten any good food.” Were the reactions she got from the aggrieved workers.
Bunmi stared on in confusion as they protested.
“Oga Collins, can you swear that you haven’t being paid? You people pay those sitting in offices, but you have refused to pay those of us doing the work.” The stout man who had spoken earlier screamed.
“Okay, fine. We will lay off half of you, pay you off then face the other half.” Drastic times calls for drastic measures, but for a moment, Bunmi wished she hadn’t said that as the aggrieved workers started throwing objects at her.
“It’s time you returned to your office. I’ll handle them.”
Collins said as he shielded her and led her towards the door.
Just then, Rowland, the head of the factory workers
“Where have you been?” Collins asked angrily.
“You are fired.” Bunmi screamed and stormed in.
“I was in the medical wing.” Rowland told Collins who didn’t follow Bunmi inside.
“Come on Mr Rowland, you knew your men would protest today, you should be around to pacify them. They almost hurt Bunmi.” Rukayat said.
“I’ll talk to her.” Collins said reassuringly to Rowland.
“Thanks boss.” Rowland replied.
Tony Brown stood up at once, shook hands with San
Jose who sat on a wheelchair.
“It’s nice doing business with you sir.” Tony smiled.
“Thanks for coming to the rescue.” San Jose replied.
“I’ll like to get going now.” Tony said, bowed once
more and proceeded to the front door.
Bunmi returned to her office fuming. She was angry at everybody because they made the problem seem like hers alone. She knew the company belonged to her, but she believed every service was employed and paid for after each workers vowed to work for the betterment of the company, and not withdraw every time the company is faced with issues like this.
“Seriously, you need to watch your anger. You don’t go venting on innocent people.” Collins voice brought her out of her thoughts.
“For the records Rowland is one of the longest servings staff of this company, you can’t dismiss him like that.” He added.
“My company or your company?” Bunmi asked angrily.
“Your company.” Collins replied with a mockery tone.
“But do you think the company is really yours? Can you do things alone? Can you be the president and still supervise sales? Can you be the finance manager and still operate machines and handle production?” Collins asked.
Bunmi took that period and calmed down really well.
“I’m sorry.” She whispered.
Collins stared at her for a moment before proceeding further into the office. Now standing beside her.
“There are some people we can’t afford to loose at the moment and Rowland is one of them. Everyone is being owed a month salary, but not everyone is working in the same scale as the factory workers.
They work the most under intense condition and with high risk, yet they are being underpaid. If for anything they are to be owed salaries, it’s not like this.” Collins explained.
“What do you suggest I do?” She asked.
“I suggest that we take two month recurring loan.
Salaries of the factory staffs per month is at one
million seven hundred thousand. We can take a
2.5million naira loan from the bank to to cover the
salaries for two months, in reality, except SJC is willing
to let go of about sixty percent, we can’t go back to the
number one spot anytime soon! Sixty percent if an average of 1.9billion dollars paid to you and you know the number of debts you can pay up and investment you can have with that.” Collins continued.
“We’ll take the loan. I’m selling nothing.” Bunmi replied in her usual defiance.
Collins took that moment to sit down.
“So, what about Rowland?” He asked.
“What about him?”
“Is he fired still?” He asked.
“Seriously, Rowland is at fault for all of this. He refused to handle those under his watch. He is a ‘Judas,’ he betrayed our trust.”
“The pressure is too much for him. He was their boss when the going was smooth. You can annoy and hungry man when you tell him you are his boss.”
Collins replied. More so, I am the overall boss of that unit. I couldn’t handle it too. I should be fired too.”
“No, don’t turn this on yourself because no one will fire you.” Bunmi said.
“Then to avoid injustice, reinstate Rowland. Remember, he made settling down easy for me when I first came in.” Collins pleaded.
“Granted sir.” Bunmi replied laughing.
“Good girl, now increase the volume of the TV.” Collins said.
“Tony Brown who recently took to his twitter account to announce the take over at SJC refused to disclose if the company would be renamed from SJC to his desired name.” The newscaster read out.
“What are they saying?” Bunmi asked.
Collins moved closer to the television to read the headlines. “Tony Brown buys sixty percent in ownership shares at SJC.” Collins read out.
“What?” Bunmi screamed as she grabbed her car key.
Collins quickly blocked her way while trying to wrestle the key from her.
“Get out of my way Collins.” Bunmi warned. “I’ll call security.” She threatened.
Collins successfully collected the key from her.
“Give me my key and let me go.” She said angrily.
“No.” Collins replied.
“What?” She asked.
“I will drive you.” He replied
To be continued