January 28, 2016 By Patrick Jaiah Kamara
Some aggrieved employees of Yeane’s Enterprise have accused their employer of cheating them the sum of Le91.5 million as salary arrears in 2015.
Yeane’s Enterprise, located at No.7 Percival Street in Freetown, is an agency that provides cleaning and fumigation services to corporate clients and individuals.
The aggrieved workers, attached to the Sierra Leone Judiciary and deployed at court buildings on Siaka Stevens Street, Pademba Road, Ross Road and the Fast Track Commercial Court, alleged that their proprietor has failed to increase their salary to the minimum wage prescribed by government – Le500,000 per month.
One of the aggrieved workers attached to the Pademba Road Magistrates’ Court, who preferred anonymity, stated that he had been paid Le194,000 per month since 2012.
He said the proprietor “fraudulently puts Le500,000” as their monthly wage on documents relating to the National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT) payments.
The workers alleged further that some employees of the enterprise are being paid the prescribed minimum wage, while the majority are given less than that amount.
It could be recalled that in October 2014, Statutory Instrument No.6 of 2014, which was created out of the 1997 Minimum Wage Act, got parliamentary approval that the minimum wage for every worker – public and private – should not be below five hundred thousand Leones.
Managing Director of Yeane’s Enterprise, Dauda Lumeh, has responded that at the time government instructed employers to pay their workers the minimum wage of Le500,000 they had already budgeted for that year.
He claimed to have written a letter to all his clients informing them about the minimum wage, noting that every one of them complied with the new policy except the Sierra Leone Judiciary.
“We increased the salary of workers who are deployed in institutions that complied with us. The Judiciary failed to comply with us, that is why we were unable to increase [the aggrieved workers] salaries,” he said.
He added that he held meetings with the affected workers last year with the view to terminating their contracts, but the workers insisted on keeping the job.
However, Acting Master and Registrar, Yayah Mansaray, told this reporter that the contract was signed by the Judiciary and Yeane’s Enterprise.
He noted that it was not their business to dictate how much the contractor was paying his workers, adding that the proprietor should not blame the Judiciary for underpaying his staff.