Aggrieved workers at the Liberia Telecommunication Corporation (LIBTELCO) on Monday, 3 August assembled at the entrance of the corporation’s facility, demanding LIBTELCO Deputy Managing Director Anderson Slober Chea to leave the institution.
The protesters are also demanding payment of their salaries for the months of June and July 2020 as part of the protest. The protesters wore T – shirts bearing inscriptions: “Chea must leave” and “We can’t breathe.”
Other placards read: “Pay our June and July salaries, LIBTELCO workers’ lives matter,” and “Please pay our US$40 deduction.”
Johnson Massaquoi, an engineer at LIBTELCO says he and the rest of the protesting workers are all CDCians, but they’ve been marginalized by certain people in the entity.
He complains that they have been experiencing a US$40 deduction from their salaries for months, noting that their entity is an autonomous agency and therefore employees supposedly did not get affected by the government’s harmonization program.
Mr. Massaquoi believes that since LIBTELCO is a multi-million dollars agency, it should be able to pay its workers on time. He indicates that they met with the management on these problems, but the same situation is still ongoing without any justification.
The protesting LIBTELCO workers are calling on the President of Liberia, their CDC lawmakers to intervene in the situation promptly. But LIBTELCO Deputy Managing Director Anderson Slober Chea rejects the protesters’ claim, saying it is true that there has been a delay in salary payment, but it’s affecting everyone at the entity as well.
Mr. Chea says most of those making the allegations are not with the corporation, noting that salaries were on time when he went to the corporation, but things have changed because coronavirus has made most customers to leave Liberia.
“Those that are protesting are not protesting because they want me to stay or leave, they’re protesting because they’ve been used. I didn’t buy a car worth $35,000, I took a car from a dealer for less than $9,000 and I’m still paying for it from my salary. “Chea claims.
He notes that the issue if payroll is not in his department, noting that it is run singlehandedly by the Managing Director of the corporation. “They’ve been used for something selfish by some individuals, but we’re doing our investigation to unearth it,” he adds.
According to Mr. Chea, the General Auditing Commission (GAC) has over the past eight years tried to audit LIBTELCO, but it hasn’t been successful, alleging that there are people within the system, ranging from the board that have been stalling the process.
He concludes that it is far from the truth for workers to say that he’s the reason salaries have been delayed.
By Ethel A Tweh –Edited by Winston W. Parley