February 9, 2018 By Joseph S. Margai
Four hundred and sixty-eight (468) ex-workers of the Freetown Waste Management Company (FWMC) yesterday staged a protest against the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) for failing to pay them their redundancy packages and end of service benefit since they were redundant in 2013.
The aggrieved workers were laid off after MASADA took over the cleaning of the city from FWMC, and have since not been given their November 2013 salaries and benefits.
The workers, who converged within the precinct of Youyi Building in Freetown, demanded payment of their benefits and vowed not to vote, if their demands are not met before the March 7 elections.
Foreman of the aggrieved ex-workers, Maligie Koroma, said they have struggled for a very long time to get the attention of MLGRD for their backlog wages and benefit, but to no avail.
“Since we were redundant in 2013, we have never received any benefit for the services we rendered to the municipality of Freetown for many years. All of us have our redundant letters and we have decided not to vote until we are paid,” he said.
He revealed that since they were redundant, they have been struggling to get jobs, especially at a time when the unemployment rate was very high.
He added that some of them did not know how to do petty trading in order to earn their living, noting that some of his colleagues, who wanted to embark on petty trading, were financially-handicapped.
“While we are waiting for our benefits, we have faced lots of challenges in our various localities. Some of us have been given quit notices by our landlords. Also, some of us have accumulated huge debts from financial institutions to solve some domestic problems,” he explained.
He revealed that he had already served as a guarantor for a loan of fourteen million Leones (Le14m) for some of the ex-workers of FWMC, who had taken the said loans to pay school fees for their children and settle some other problems.
Efforts were made by this press to have the Minister of Local Government comment on the issue, but to no avail. The Director of Local Government refused to comment on the issue and told the press to wait on the minister.