Another demonstration at CARI

Workers have staged another demonstration at the Central Agriculture Research Institute (CARI), in Bong County in demand of salaries.More than 30 CARI laborers demonstrated Wednesday, 12 September due to the institution’s alleged refusal to pay their salaries.

Some of the employees are demanding salaries for July and August, while others are only demanding pay for August alone.The aggrieved workers blocked CARI’s main entrance, threatening to beat anyone who would resist them.

The NewDawn’s Bong County correspondent says the aggrieved workers are not only demanding salaries from executives of the institute, but they are seriously demanding salaries increment as well.Others went a step further by calling on President George Manneh Weah to dismiss the institution’s Director General Dr. Marcus Jones with immediate effect.

The employees alleges that Dr. Jones’ administration is the worst administration ever at CARI.According to them, Dr. Jones only cares for those that have earned Degrees at the entity, but not those that are doing laborer jobs.

The duties of the aggrieved workers are to plant rice, drive birds, clean grass from the rice, among others.Our correspondent observes that those in the demonstrations had been part of similar protest during the tenure of former CARI Director Dr. Walter Wiles for salaries.

However, they now claim that Dr. Wiles’ administration was far better than the Dr. Jones’ administration.The workers insists that for normal activities to continue at the government research institute, President Weah should quickly dismiss Dr. Jones.According to them, the delay in paying their salaries is causing serious problem for them, complaining that some of them have not yet bought any school material for their children.

“For me I am a widow, and I only depend on what CARI gives me on a monthly basis to feed my children and send them to school. But for now, I have not been able to even buy a single copy book for my children because of the delay in our payment,” Gormah Baysah, a mother of four children told our correspondent.

According to her, the job they are doing is very difficult, adding: “I sometimes feel serious pain from my back especially in the night.”In spite of the difficulties, she says their bosses continue to delay their pay.This latest demonstration comes after Research Assistants at CARI recently expressed serious bitterness over the institution’s alleged refusal to increase their salaries.

The Research Assistants also threatened a peaceful demonstration to draw the attention of other government officials.When contacted by our Bong County correspondent, CARI Director General Dr. Marcus Jones stated that he feels for the aggrieved workers.

But he says authorities at the Ecobank in Ganta, Nimba County are saying that their checks have not been mature withdrawal.“I was told that we needed to wait until two to three days before our check can be matured, that’s why we have not given their salaries,” Dr Jones adds.Concerning salaries increment for laborers, Dr. Jones says he doesn’t have the right to decide the salaries of workers at the entity.

He says their concern will be taken to the Board members of the institution.“I can’t tell them that their salaries will be increased because I am just the Director. Before taking any decision, it needs to be agreed upon by the Board. So for the salaries issue, I will firstly reach it to the Board and will latter inform them,” he concludes.

By Joseph Titus Yekeryan in Bong–Edited by Winston W. Parley

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