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Provident Farm taken to labour

Mr. Jerry Dolo

About 108 redundant employees of the Provident Farm, Inc. a rubber plantation in Gibi Estate, Margibi County have written the labour commissioner in Margibi, complaining the management of the farm for allegedly refusing to pay them salary arrears.

They have threatened to stage a peaceful protest in the plantation if management did not settle their arrears. The spokesperson for the group narrated that they have worked for the company for several years, but on January 13, 2016 each of them received a redundant letter from the President/CEO of the farm Mr. Benjamin G. Garnett, as a result of the loaming global financial crisis affecting the rubber sector.

Mr. Jerry Dolo explained that during the redundancy, Mr. Garnett promised to have paid them in three installments, which should have started on 31st March 2016 thru May 31th and ends on July 31th 2016, respectively.

According to him, since they received the letters from the farm owner, he has failed to act as stipulated, and persistently refused to pay their salary arrears, including one month pay in lieu of notice, severance pay and transportation.

He noted that on March 31st all of the redundant workers assembled on the plantation to receive their money, but the farm manager,DahiSackie, referred them to the CEO on grounds that his signature was not affixed to the document and that he was not the right person.

Mr. Dolo indicated that this left them with no other alternative but to write the Labor Commissioner in Margibi, Mr. Albert Jallah, who cited CEO Garnett for a conference on April 7, 2016. He further narrated that Mr. Garnett during the conference acknowledged that he wronged the workers, and promised to pay their money on April 11, 2016 but to no avail.

“What we have decided to do if we don’t receive this money from Mr. Garnett is that we will stage a peaceful demonstration; we need our money because we are starving and our children are being put out of school, so we need our money now. We will put ourselves together and there will be no work; we are not going to embarrass any security because they are there to protect lives and properties but those who are tapping and those that are slashing will not work and if they put out violence then we will react on them,” he threatened.

When contacted, the manager of the farm DahiSackie said the Labor Commissioner has arranged a meeting with the aggrieved redundant workers today, Friday, April 22. Mr. Dahi explained that the only money the management owes the employees is the redundancy money, which according to him, government is responsible to pay.

-Editing by Jonathan Browne

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