Public Works Employees Strike in Lofa
Public Works Ministry’s employees in Lofa County have begun an indefinite strike in demand of two months salary arrears. The over 20 workers are said to have been promised US$ 5 per day to clean-up drainages, wells as well as carry on roadside brushing in the county. Group spokesman, Kelley Bryant told the media Friday that for the past two months (May and June) plus the current month (July), they have not been paid.
“We have approached the Ministry of Public Work Resident Engineer, Robert Gibson, in Voinjama many times, but to no avail. Therefore, we have no options but to ground tools,” Bryant noted.
He said empty beg can never stand on its own without anything in it, saying “If you do not eat, how you will get the energy to work?” Bryant stressed, “We have families and schools are about to re-open by next month (August) of which we need to prepare for our dependants (children).”
Resident Engineer Kenneth Gibson has confirmed the workers’ action, but said everything was being done to settle the arrears. He said the ministry was doing everything possible for the employees to get what is due them. “We are appealing to them to exercise patience as the process was ongoing for settlements.”
It is not known whether or not these workers are casual or full time employees of the ministry. However, protest from people in public institutions like ministries, agencies and corporation has been on the rise here.
Recently, over 100 casual laborers of the Central Agriculture Research Institute (CARI) in Bong County went on the rampage in demand of pay rise and the dismissal of their team leader. The same within the health sector where employees of various state-owned hospitals laid down tools due to back-pay owed them by government.