16 April 2014

Liberia: LWSC Erupts - Employees Protest for Salary Increment

It took the intervention of officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) to bring a under control a rather disgusting demonstration staged by some aggrieved employees of the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC).

The entity erupted into edginess on Monday April 14 when group of employees poured out of their offices in a protest to demand salary increment including retroactive and other benefits.

It is a long time that the LWSC which enjoyed semblance of sanity and calmness came alive with such demonstration, a move management is not taking lightly.

The President of the LWSC Workers Union who spoke to reporters said their action was a response to management's inability to comply with terms of arrangements reached between them.

Fred D. Garley said they and management held discussions on several occasions at which time the issue of salary increment was raised, adding that management agreed to form a task force involving both management and employees to begin the collection of revenues.

According to him, they should have set up the task force in July of last year in keeping with the agreement, and that should revenue increase the Corporation would give six months of retroactive increment in the salary.

Since then, he said nothing of such has happened, thus leaving them with no alternative to come out to demand management to act.

Garley who expressed dissatisfaction over the manner, in which management is handling the salary retroactive issue, also added "workers of the institution will not work until management addresses their plight."

Besides demanding for salary and retroactive pay, some protesters demanded that their names be placed on payroll because "We have worked for many years at the entity."

The group threatened to shut down the power plant and all sub-stations within Monrovia and its surroundings if when management does not rightly address their concern. "The leadership at the institution is not working in the interest of the workers; as such our protest action is the only means through which the country will get to know about the failure of management to live up to promise," Garley said.

At the same time, the LWSC Managing Director Charles Allen said the concerns of the employees were important and genuine but added "The Corporation is going through difficulty and as such could not meet the needs of employees 100 percent."

He said management was concerned about the employees' plight, but was quick to explain "the Corporation spends over US$100,000 monthly to buy fuel oil to run the corporation with over 6 million gallons daily but with a loss of 75 percent."

He promised that management along with the Board of Directors will try to lay the matter to rest in the shortest possible time.

He called the leadership of the Corporation including the Board Chairman, Dr. Kimmie Weeks, and the Workers Union President Fred D. Garley to dialogue in order to resolve the matter.

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