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#Eta Star International bosses hold 1000 Indian workers hostage in #Angola

Over 1200 Indian workers have been left stranded, and effectively held hostage by bosses in Angola after their passports and other travel documents were confiscated in revenge for taking industrial action over not being paid anything for over six months.

The workers are employed by ETA Star International, who produce cement at their factory in Sumbe. The workers went on strike after bosses refused to pay their wages. As workers protested outside the plant, the bosses called the police who fired around 300 bullets at protestors, as well as tear gas shells. There are reports of several injuries, and over forty arrests, with many currently in prison.

Despite not paying the workers any money for six months, the factory management have defended the move to confiscate the workers passports, and have declared the strike “illegal”.

A representative of the workers reports that:


“Their passports have been seized… they are wandering in forest without any food and battling for their life… their family members are crying… media is reporting the matter for 15 days but the government is silent on this sensitive matter.”


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P.O. Box 84092, Deira, Dubai, U.A.E • Tel: +971 42713333, Fax: +971 42964504, mail: mail@etastarinternational.com

3 responses

  1. angola

    33 more Indian workers held by Angola police
    Published: Saturday, May 12, 2012, 15:18 IST
    By Paras K Jha | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA

    The Indian workers of a cement plant near Sumbe town in Angola who fled into the nearby forests after police firing on Thursday are in despair and thinking of surrendering to the authorities. They have been hiding in the jungle without food or water for the last two days. The worker who was shot during the police firing has received no medical assistance and still has a bullet lodged in his thigh.
    The local police meanwhile have continued their hunt for the hiding labourers and have arrested more of them. The number of arrested workers has gone up to 65. On Thursday, 32 workers had been arrested.
    The Indian embassy in Angola has said it is trying to sort out the matter but the workers are unhappy with the embassy’s failure to do anything so far. Officials of the Indian external affairs ministry in New Delhi said the Indian ambassador to Angola had sent his report on workers’ strike.
    “We have received Ambassador Debraj Pradhan’s report on the issue. He has arranged meetings with the ministers of the Angola government to sort out the matter. It should be mentioned that the workers had failed to understand that it was their contractor who had not received payments from the company.
    That is why payment of workers’ overtime wages got delayed,” said Sanjiv Kohli, joint secretary in Western Africa department, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
    Kohli further said that the cement company had adopted a police of ‘no work, no pay’ when the workers struck work and that this had led to the violent confrontation.”Now the Indian embassy is trying to resolve the matter,” he said.
    Meanwhile, Vijay Valmik, the labourer from Petlad who is among the Indian workers hiding in the jungle, told DNA over the phone that Sumbe looked like a town under curfew.
    “The police have arrested 65 Indian workers so far. Some of our engineers and supervisors have been sending threatening messages warning us that if we don’t get back to work, we will be beaten up. Vijaykumar has received no treatment and still has a bullet lodged in his thigh,” Vijay said.
    He further said that he feared arrest anytime. “The police are looking for us. The foreman and engineers are helping the security forces arrest the workers. We are hiding in the jungle and have been without food and water. Each of the 1200 workers from India wants to return to home. We are all planning to surrender to the authorities,” he said.
    Chimanbhai Valmik, father of Vijay who stays in Petlad, said that his son had called and was pleading that they should do something to save every worker. “He asked us to do something to get them all back from Angola. We want the government to bring our sons back to the country,” he said. Leader of the opposition in state assembly Shaktisinh Gohil visited Valmik’s family on Friday.
    Violence had broken out at the cement factory in Sumbe on Thursday after Indian workers, who had not been paid overtime since February this year, received their overtime wages in the local currency. Workers said they depended on overtime payments to pay for their expenses in Angola while their salary was deposited in their bank accounts.They said they wanted their overtime dues to be paid in dollars as banks refused to accept the local currency.
    The workers were on strike for 24 days of their overtime dues.
    Meanwhile, chief minister Narendra Modi has written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, urging him to take all necessary steps to stop inhuman treatment of Indian workers, including those from Gujarat, in Angola.

    June 11, 2012 at 6:21 am

    • arturo-macatiag


      September 15, 2012 at 11:53 am

  2. Rahul kumar

    now what is condition of cement plant and indian workers

    February 3, 2014 at 10:37 am

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