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Standoff paralyzes Freeport of Monrovia

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-as local businesses threaten unspecified actions

A standoff between riot officers of the Liberia National Police and protesting port workers paralyzed normal activities at the Freeport of Monrovia on Monday, 03 May, affecting businesses.

The workers were hired by the Management of APM Terminals after the dismissal of some 42 employees. They are demanding a collective bargaining agreement with the company.

The situation at the Freeport, which according to the report, started last week Wednesday, has caused dock workers, port truckers, and customs brokers to halt operation.

A Liberian businesswoman Kebbeh Collins, laments the impasse is affecting the movement of containers out of the port and prolonged stay of goods in the port is making her and others to incur extra storage cost.
Madam Collins is a former representative candidate for Montserrado County District#7.

Speaking to OK FM 99.5 Monday, she lamented that daily storage fee at the port after five days is US$71.00 daily, adding, “I am appealing to the President to intervene.”

According to her, taxes at the Freeport are driving Diaspora-based Liberians away with many of them now turning to neighboring Guinea to ship goods to Liberia thru the Liberian border post in Ganta, Nimba County and then transported by road to Monrovia.

The president of Liberian business persons importing goods from China Saah Folley, threatened they take unspecified action by Wednesday, if government failed to address the situation.

But the spokesperson for the National Port Authority Malcom Scott said management is durig everything address the protesting workers’ concern, which he described as germane. The current protest has been blamed on the Management of APM Terminals’ failure or refusal to re-instate 42 employees, as instructed by the Ministry of Labour.

According to the Ministry, the employees were illegally dismissed, so management must re-instate and pay them for the period they sat down. Story by Jonathan Browne

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