17 October 2017

Liberia: Inter-Con Security Found Liable for Unfair Labour Practice in Liberia

Monrovia — One of the leading private security firms in Liberia, which provides security for the United States Embassy in Monrovia and other very important clients has been found liable for unfair labour practices and ordered to pay over six hundred thousand United States dollars to thirty (38) complainants.

In a ruling from the Hearing Officer, Nathaniel S. Dickson of the Division of Labour Standards, Ministry of Labour, the Ministry has found Inter-con liable and ordered the security firm to pay an amount of six hundred twenty thousand four hundred eighteen Dollars and two cents United States Dollars (US$620,418.02) to 38 complainants.

The Hearing Officer stated in the ruling "Wherefore and in view of the foregoing facts and circumstances, the management of Inter-con Security System is liable of the action of unfair labour practices and is to pay the 38 complainants the amount of six hundred twenty thousand four hundred eighteen dollars and two cents United States Dollars (US$620,418.02). Attached is a self-explanatory benefit payment calculation. And so bet it ordered".

The case emanated from an indictment against 55 guards of the security firm who were indicted for alleged strike and charged for crime of felonious restraint, aggravated assault, terroristic threats and theft of property but following trial at Criminal "A" the guards filed a motion to dismiss the case.

The court on the 12th day of April 2006 granted the defendants Motion to Dismiss, a motion to which the Prosecution announced an appeal but prosecution failed to perfect its appeal resulting to the defendants acquiring a clerk's certificate.

The rosecution again failed to file its Bill of Exception and the Criminal Court A under the signature of Mr. Sam Mamulu issued two Certificates to the complainants, who were at the time defendants.

The two certificates issued on August 13, 2010 and November 22, 2012 respectively dismissed all charges of aggravated assault, terroristic threats and theft of property acquitting the complainants and discharging them completely.

Out of the 55 guards indicted, 17 guards were working and paid off while Inter-con failed to do same to 38 even though they were issued Court's Clearance.

Despite the Court Clearance, Inter-con ignored the court documents and never reinstated or paid off the thirty-eight 38 others.

The action by the Inter-con Security System, the Labour Hearing Officer described as discrimination.

According to the Hearing Officer, the International Labour Organization (ILO) convention No. 11 Article 1 states that for the purpose of the Convention, the term discrimination includes: "Any distinction, exclusion or preference made on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, political opinion, national extraction or social origin, which has the effect of nullifying or impairing equality of opportunity or treatment in employment or occupation"

Hearing Officer Dickson stated in his ruling "In this instant case, 55 guards were indicted for an alleged strike and charged for the crime of felonious restraint, aggravated assault, terroristic threats and theft of property, seventeen 17 of the accused were reinstated and paid off while investigation was ongoing but defendant denied to reinstate or pay the 38 of the 55 accused guards who were issued Court's clearance and acquitted. This is discrimination".

The 38 affected are -Willie D. Kerkula, Emmanuel Yormie, Isaac P. Dolo, Alfred Norfleet, Stephen Beyan, Sam Boyce, Andrew Mulbah, Stephen Jallah, Karn Brown, Joseph Guannue, Kennedy Togbah, Alexander Towah, Alfred Zoegar, Cooper Gaye, Gabriel P. Tarty, Thomas Quiah, Edward Lombel, Morris Barry, Milton Nyenatoh, Randall Dean, Malikie Siryon, Jerome Bopour, Edward Brown, Lawrence Kpangon, Dyringo Beayee, David Jankpolo, Leo Massaquoi, Sam Sackie, John Allison, Richard Mulbah, Richard Jawatech, Theophilus Yanford, Jusman Landie, Isaac Marsh, Kiemue Cambell, Richard D. Kollie, Jefferson Kerkulah and Marcus Andrew.

Since the Labour Hearing Officer ruling on September 27, 2017, the Inter-con Security System is yet to make any comment on the ruling, either to take an appeal to the court or reach an agreement on payment to the 38 persons affected by the company action.

Unfair labour practices are very common by security firms and other employers in Liberia and in many instances some employees who cannot bear the hectic cost of litigation are infringed upon by employers.

Some who are able to follow-up their dismissal and other unfair labour practices by employers push their case through the court system where they prevail on some occasions.

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