After several weeks of murmuring, 48 dismissed security personnel of the Central Agriculture Research Institute (CARI) in Suakoko, Bong County took their grievance to another level when they staged a protest at the entrance of the institute, demanding salary allegedly owed them after management sacked them on September 29, 2017.
The protesters explain that they were recruited by the institution to occupy vacancies advertised on June 16, 2017. According to them, since their employment by management, they had constantly been denied salaries on grounds that they are new in the system.
They allege that during their tenure as security for the entity, they were responsible to purchase logistics on their own that would empower them to protect properties at the institution.
They lament that to their upmost surprise on 29 September 2017, the institution terminated their contracts without pay for three months, citing budgetary and financial constraints.
According to them, since management took the decision, they had consulted the labor commissioner and the development superintendent of Bong County in demand of their three months’ wages but effort applied yielded no fruitful result due to what they term unprecedented behavior of Dr. Walter Wiles.
They explain that two months payment was done after mounting several tensions at his office on numerous occasions, adding that payment of their last one month salary will be in limo with the removal of Dr. Wiles as head of CARI by President George Weah.
The former security personnel threaten to continue protesting until their concerns are addressed by the administration. When contacted, the administrator of CARI confirms the former employees’ claims and assures that modalities are being worked out to meet the salary demands.
Madam Findley explains that delay in settling the laid off securities came as the result of government not allotting additional fund in the institution’s budget to accommodate those its indebted to since the departure of UNMIL from the area.
She says administration is in sympathy with the aggrieved individuals and wants to settle them before the end of last week. Madam Findley terms the situation as embarrassing, owing to the fact that entrance to premises was shut down and workers prevented from reporting for work.
Commenting on the press release from President Weah, mandating all Heads of Human Resource or HRs to control the affairs of governmental agencies until further appointments, she says since the release, they have had administrative consultation to enforce the mandate of the President. According to her, Dr. Walter was not present during the meeting.
By Joseph Titus Yekeryan, Bong County-Editing by Jonathan Browne