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Dock workers elections postponed again

By Matthew Jabby

Elections for various positions in the executive of the Dock Workers Union which was slated for 6th December had to be postponed again by the Sierra Leone Labour Congress because of persistent disagreement and acrimony amongst rival factions within the Union.

The latest postponement could not be unrelated to the decision of the Sierra Leone Labour Congress to disqualify a popular aspirant for the position of president, Kekura Kargbo. His ineligibility to contest was confirmed few days to the tense polls on the grounds that he failed key eligibility criteria, including the duration of his membership.

Addressing agitated dock workers outside the Queen Elizabeth II quay last Saturday, Minister of Labour and Industrial Relations, Dr. Matthew Teambo pleaded with them to end their strike and return to work as government was working frantically to address their grievances. He maintained that the quay is a key source of government’s income and its closure would immensely affect the country’s economy.

The dock workers agreed to end their strike but refused to drop demands that the current executive should step down because it is not working in their interest. They aggrieved workers, many of whom are casuals at the quay, vowed they will not allow Labour officials to impose a president on them after the latter disqualified Kekura Kargbo, their preferred candidate.

They told Concord Times if Labour officials delay the elections they will unilaterally elect Kargbo as their president, and threatened to again down tools if the authorities try to stop them.

The workers also reiterated calls for former president Abdul Kanasieu to be barred from contesting the elections, claiming he had betrayed the trust and confidence they reposed in him.

However, in an exclusive interview with Concord Times, Kekura Kargbo denied he is in any political battle with Kanasieu. He said the demands of the dock workers should be respected as it is representative of democracy, and in democracy the voice of the majority has to be respected. He said he would not object to a call to duty should his colleagues demand his service.