Adão Correia, president of the union commission of Siind's workers in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ), told Lusa news agency, that the protest began near the facilities of Siind, a company created to directly manage the industrial units located in the SEZ, and then descended to Sonangol, E.P., lasting about two hours.
At stake is the sale by the State of the factories in the EEZ, through the Institute for the Management of Assets and State Holdings (IGAPE).
"What we want is job stability according to the General Labor Law. The State is selling the factories in the Special Economic Zone, but the law provides that there should be job stability and the law also provides that even if the factories are sold, in principle, the entity that buys the factories, if the factories are with the same corporate purpose, should take on the workers," he said.
According to the union member, the sale process "is not being done with transparency," pointing out that the union is never notified of the companies that are bidding for the tender, nor of their results.
"We are not informed about which companies have won the tenders. We are protesting in the sense that the union has to be had and found," he expressed.
On the other hand, the workers accuse Sonangol of not fulfilling the legal assumptions related to the "social compensation", resulting from the unemployment of about 500 workers.
"There is also a problem with the payment of back pay, because the contracts were indexed to the dollar and for about four years, Sonangol, Siind, has not accompanied the payment of workers' salaries, according to the contract, according to the exchange rate of the BNA [National Bank of Angola]," he pointed out.
According to the union leader, the receipts for the compensation paid have so far not been presented, so that the workers know "how much they received, and why they received it, because the law says that any payment should be made through a receipt.
"On the other hand, discounts were still made related to Labor Income Tax and Social Security. From our point of view, this means double taxation and we don't agree with this, because it is not legal," he said.
The union, speaking on behalf of its members, has exposed the situation to the President of the Republic, the president of the board of directors of Sonangol, the director of Siind, the Attorney General of the Republic, MPLA and parliamentary groups of MPLA and UNITA.
"Unfortunately, until now, we have not been successful and the only way left to us, according to the Constitution is to make demonstrations to make ourselves heard. We have been since July 2020 in this claim, which we started through letters, and at the end of last year we started with the demonstrations", he explained.
Given the indifference of the competent authorities, Adão Correia said that the demonstrations will continue "because someone has to listen.
"Sonangol exists and so does Siind, and as a matter of caution we are working with lawyers, so that the claim period does not expire, but we know that the courts in Angola are working very badly, very slowly, and our means of pressure is to continue to demonstrate," he said.
Adão Correia said that the Special Economic Zone, located in Viana, employed around 1,300 workers, and half of the factories have been sold, with around 500 workers currently unemployed.
Siind was set up in 2010, with the aim, amongst other activities, of coordinating management of industrial projects of Sonangol E.P. and its subsidiaries to be installed in the Luanda-Bengo Special Economic Zone.