1 July 2014

Liberia: Finance Remains Tensed

The Ministry of Finance remains tensed days after employees abandoned work and staged go-slow action in protest of a decision to redundant them with little or no benefits. The go-slow action is said to be in full swing beginning from today (July 1).

Our reporter who visited the Ministry's Broad Street offices yesterday said there is no indication of things abating, owing to the fact that aggrieved employees continue to push for huge benefits other than what authorities have earmarked.

He said several of the aggrieved staffers have indicated their unpreparedness and unwillingness to accept what is earmarked, demanding huge benefits from management before they can abort their actions.

In a resolution to the senior management team, the aggrieved employees categorically rejected the figures mentioned in the payment matrix which was circulated amongst the general workforce there.

"The proposed figures in the matrix are grossly inadequate to meet the economic reality of the day," the employees maintained, and stressed that "it is unfair to pay an employee who had worked one year and wishes to voluntarily separate from the Ministry of Finance be paid US$ 5, 000 and also be paid the same to another employee who works for ten years."

While raising concerns about the status of employees who took loans from banks ranging between US$ 10,000 to US$25,000, the aggrieved employees are requesting full settlement of all arrears including scratch cards and gas slips owed them.

"Those who have worked for one to five years should be US$15, 000, while those who have worked for six to fifteen years be given US$22, 500," aggrieved employees noted, and added those who served for eleven to fifteen years be paid US$38, 325.

"Those who have worked for sixteen to twenty two years should be paid US$63, 875, while undergraduate should receive USD $ 10,000," the employees proposed to authorities.

Confirming the tenseness of the situation in a chat with our reporter, Director of Media Services, Sidiki Trawally, said the senior management team was looking into the employees' demands.

According to him, the demands put forth by the employees were too astronomical.

"Their demands are too high, and I do not see management accepting, because we do not have money," he said, and added that the institution cannot afford to pay such huge funds because it is unrealistic.

At the moment, he said dialogue is ongoing between the aggrieved employees and authorities of the ministry, noting "if they do not agree, what we have proposed will be the amount that we will give them."

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