Gambia: Africmed Brands Protesting Staff 'Disgruntled'

11 September 2020

The management of Africmed International has branded the protesting staff as "disgruntled", saying the Clinic's CEO has tried to meet the disgruntled individuals but they declined.

"The CEO had personally approached the disgruntled individuals and asked them to meet him in his office on the morning of the incident when he became aware of it, but they declined," the hospital's management said in a dispatch.

"The Head of Nursing similarly tried to engage them without success. The management was baffled as to why Social media was involved; "what was the motive?" they queried.

Earlier this month, a total of 75 staff of Africmed International embarked on a sit-down strike, demanding the resignation of the clinic's Human Resources manager, Modou Sise and, Sanju Kumar, the Finance manager.

During the protest, the angry staff stormed the premises of the clinic in Brusubi, expressing total disapproval of the top brass as they displayed placards with inscriptions. 'Operation we can't work with Sanju Kumar.' 'Sanju Must go and Modou Sise should also go.' 'Africmed Staff have decided.' Risk allowances must be paid and Free and adequate supply of surgical face mask to all staff' among a host of others.

The angry staff were also demanding the payment of 25% cut that was "forcefully" deducted from their August salaries and also the reinstatement of three staff of the clinic. They claimed that even the surgical face masks were sold to them at D40.

"The management of Africmed wishes to reach out to the general public to shed light on the recent protest of some staff demanding the resignation of some members of the Management team etc. As everyone may be aware, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented challenge for healthcare systems worldwide."

"Also, Africmed is aware of the growing concern regarding individuals, who may work in jobs predisposing them to COVID-19 infection which may lead to significant financial consequences in the event of illness. Our staff are no exceptions to this increased risk and for this reason, Africmed management has been working hard to maximize available resources."

"As such, the management met to strategise and developed a plan to ensure continued operations of the facility while upholding to maintain consistent supply of protective equipment for staff as well as other supplies to facilitate implementation of other COVID-19 prevention measures and guidelines."

Africmed added that it's fully aware of the financial implications on the company to maintain all the staff despite current reduced workload.

"In its quest to show compassion to staff during these trying times and financial challenges for individuals as well as business entities including Africmed, the management did its best to avoid laying off staff even though there were some whose contracts were due to expire or have expired."

"Mainly for this reason, the management made a collective decision to temporarily cut all staff salaries including the management by 25% for the next five (5) months (August to December 2020) and made the commitment to start to repay the 25% cut in January of 2021."

"After this collective decision was made, a memo to this effect was written and given to all staff soliciting their support, understanding and acceptance. The deductions were effected on the August salaries as stated above and this sparked anger among some staff members."

"When management became aware of the aggressive reaction to this decision amongst some staff, message was communicated to all staff that the 25% that was deducted can be collected from the finance office with immediate effect. However, the disgruntled staff continued to mobilise and staged protest to make demands not related or relevant to the 25% cut."

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