13 February 2013

Liberia: Maritime Contractors to Go-Slow

About 800 contractors of the Liberia Maritime Authority (LMA) have threatened to stage street protest in demand of three months' salary arrears owed them by the management.

Speaking to the New Dawn over the weekend in Sinkor, Monrovia, the spokesperson for the aggrieved contractors, David Momoh said several times the leadership has engaged the Binyan Kesselley's administration about alleged bad labor practices and delay in paying them.

Momoh, who appeared very angry with the LMA management, added that currently, all contractors earn US$60. 00 monthly, while field supervisors take home US$105 per month.

The aggrieved contractors, who were hired under the program "Beach and Waterways Project" for three years, said the management of the Maritime Authority has failed to settle their three months salary arrears, and at the same time botched to provide any explanation over the delay in payment.

He stressed that the contractors have no option but to take to the streets through peaceful protest to attract the attention of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and other relevance agencies of government's.

"The Maritime people are taking us for ride. Our three years contract should had lasted up to 2014, but the delinquency introduce in the payment has created sour relationship. They are getting their salaries and allowances regularly; why us?

And my brother, the amount given to us as pay is not even much to be delayed, taking into account the work we do. Cleaning of the beaches from West Point to Thinker's Village Beach and making sure that people stop using the beach as toilet and dump sites, which require physical strength both day and night," he lamented.

He noted that they have written both the Labor Ministry and the Office of the President, seeking redress but it appears that those who are responsible are reneging, something he added is worrisome and a clear signal that government only gives credence to people who they have interest in and not the general public as required by the Constitution.

He maintained that since last November, all contractors under said project have not taken pay and management had chosen to give deaf ears so the only language the management might listen to is protest and go-slow action, which will subsequently return the beaches to filth and public toilet.

When the management of the Liberia Maritime Authority was contacted on the matter, its Media Consultant, Mr. Philibert Brown, admitted to the information but said that Finance Ministry and officials of LMA are in reconciliation of account before payment is done.

Mr. Brown explained that LMA Management has no interest in denying young Liberians of their hard earned wages but there is an ongoing reconciliation of financial documents before making payment of salaries.

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