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SETHI Brothers worker loses fingers

-Alleges abandonment

Private company employee, who lost two fingers on job, is pealing for assistance.

By Emmanuel wise Jipoh

Monrovia, Liberia, May 3, 2024—Karlou Kamara, a worker of Sethi Brothers (Duraplast) Plastic Factory, lost two fingers while on duty. He appeals to the Government of Liberia (GOL) and philanthropists to come to his aid after being allegedly abandoned by Sethi Brothers Corporation or Sethi Ferro Fabrik here.

The 35-year-old factory worker at the Duraplast SETHI Brothers Plàstic Factory on Jamaica Road, Bushord Island, laments that he now goes to bed hungry while battling an injury he sustained on duty, allegedly without attention from the Management.

Mr. Kamara operates a giant-size plastic-producing machine at Duraplast SETHI Factory. He narrates that he was at work on Sunday, April 28, 2024, at 2 a.m., when the sad incident occurred.

The victim, who alleged he has worked with SETHI Brothers Incorporation for more than seven years as a contractor, laments the mal-treatment of workers and the lack of proper safety measures at the factory, which led to his severe injury.

He explained to THE NEW DAWN on Wednesday in tears that he was operating the machine when he mistakenly slipped his finger between the machine to remove a plastic, thus smashing his finger.

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“I’m experiencing pain daily; to even find food to eat is difficult. Since a week ago, my finger got damaged, while I was working on the machine, there is no intervention from SETHI Factory. I’m made to sleep with hunger, and what they provide me is only 500 Liberian Dollars to go for treatment at JFK, and my wife is pregnant. She has a weak back, and I have to cater to her. I’m the only dependent for my family”, he narrates his current ordeal sorrowfully.

Mr. Kamara says he started working as a daily hire at SETHI Factory but has worked for over seven years without employment, as his status with the company is only on a contractual basis. He expresses fears that he might be dismissed for nothing upon his return to work and that his family wouldn’t benefit anything, as his sacrifices over the years will go in vain.

“While I was operating the machine to produce plastic, I tried to take a sticky rubber between the lines, and I didn’t know my middle finger was on the machine surface—it was already on—and my finger was cut off,” he reflects.

According to him, alleged negligence by management has allowed his fingers to be completely damaged, as there was no immediate response upon the incident while alleging that management has kept his damaged finger for about a week, allowing it to die.

 “They have caused my fingers to damage, and the doctor has said I will have to live with this for the rest of my life, and my fear is that if I go back to the job, they might get tired of me and put me down for no reason. I have already spent seven years with them – no employment, no benefits”, Kamara explains.

He notes after the incident, colleagues that were present through the management took him to Muslims Clinic in Clara Town, where he was administered first aid treatment, and later transferred to John F. Kennedy Medical Center (JFK) in Sinkor, Monrovia, where he has been receiving treatment but completely abandoned by Sethi Group of Companies.

SETHI Group of Companies Unionized Workers grievances Chairman Ebenezer Kai says the factory is responsible for Mr. Karlou’s injury because he was not a regular function but a special service that he was being paid for at the time of the incident.

“Look, when it comes to holidays and Sunday, because that hand to hand, and you work, they pay you; Karlou was paid, but unfortunately, the incident happened. We take care of him, but he demands to care for his family since he got injured,” Mr. Kai explains.

For his part, Workers Union Chairman Richard S. Weah confirms the incident but denies that management has neglected Mr. Karlou Kamara. He says that Kamara has been well-treated and is being monitored by the company as they await his speedy recovery.

Mr. Weah indicates that the Management of SETHI Group of Companies has committed to paying for Mr. Kamara’s damaged fingers. He discloses that all employees, including the victim, are covered by insurance, and upon his recovery, the insurance company will pay for his damaged fingers, which will be determined by a cost.

Also speaking, the spokesperson for the company, Mr. Cedrick Ilunga, Executive Director for Operations, assures management’s commitment to working with Mr. Kamara until his full recovery.

He says though management relies on the Union to take up the initiative for the treatment and welfare of workers, it will now speedily step in to ensure Kamara recovers fully and returns to work while disclosing that his demands, including salary and well-being, will be adequately adhered to. Editing by Jonathan Browne

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