Liberia: RLJ Kendeja Hotel Accused of Malpractices, Ill-Treatments

The RLJ Kendeja Hotel located in Rehab Community, ELWA, Paynesville has been accused of bad labor practices and ill-treatment of contractors.

Waiters, gardeners, and staffers of the topnotch hotel who spoke to the New Dawn accused management of mistreatment, discrimination, minimum wage and absence of paid-leave, among others.

More than 300 staffers of the hotel have been made redundant following management transition from an American to a Ghanaian team, headed by Roberta Torkornu.

The New Dawn gathers the Liberian workers at the facility suffer frequent abuse and intimidation at the hands of the Ghanaian management team.

Local staff decries alleged mistreatment, illegal dismissal and refusal to pay off those redundant.

Josephine Vian, an employee of the Official Protection Service (OPSI) a private security firm located in Congo Town, alleges that while assigned at the hotel early this year, she was beaten while on duties at the facility by an unidentified Ghanaian national, who was executing a customer service.

According to her, she had been instructed by the hotel management not to allow goods into the premises at 8pm, but to her utmost surprise a Ghanaian national, who happened to be friend of Manager Torkornu, forced his way there with goods transported in tricycles (Keke) but she prevented access based on instructions from management, which led to a deliberate slap in her ears, and subsequent inappropriate dismissal by Madam Torkornu, for denying a customer.

Josephine continues that she then called in the Police and was later recalled from the assignment by the Official Protection Service.

An employee of the RLJ Kenedja Resort & Villas, Daniel Fallah Flomo, who has served the entity for 14 years from 2009 to 2023 as a front- staffer to a waiter, without full employment, said he was dismissed for questioning reduction in his salary from US$135 to US$124.

According to Flomo, prior to his dismissal, he was physically assaulted by General Manager Roberta Torkornu, who hit him in his chest for alleged gross disrespect, after he inquired about reduction in his salary.

He said there hasn't been any new employment at the hotel since the new management took over, revealing that workers are being paid US$143 below the legal minimum wage.

''Since 2009 I came here working as contractor, there hasn't been any contract given to me, and I haven't seen any of the workers here with a contract; all the management does is to pay us hand-to-hand, without a contract sheet. When you go ask about your employment status, they fire you without salary,'' he lamented.

He alleged that more Ghanaians brought into the entity are paid above US$150 to $300 and benefit pay-leaves, while their Liberian counterparts benefit nothing.

Another worker, who asked for anonymity, claimed that the hotel has refused to pay her salary for the past six months, adding that Madam Torkormu, who took over from Ronald Stilting in 2017, has been brutal against Liberians.

In an in effort to contact the RLJ Kenedja Resort & Villas, Acting Manager, Abraham Johnson, sounded aggressive in response to reporter's inquiry about alleged malpractices meted against Liberians working at the facility.

He aggressively told the New Dawn to go ahead and write whatever it can, and the hotel will take further action.

However, he denied these allegations, telling journalists to instead, go and inquire from the Ministry of Labor about alleged mistreatments and huge redundancy at the facility, while asking the media out of the RLJ Kenedja premises.

Attempt to reach out to General Manager Madam Roberta Torkormu was unsuccessful, as journalists where informed she has travelled to Ghana.

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