SLPA industrial action may be settled out of court
March 25, 2015 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
An industrial action brought by 185 former workers of the Sierra Leone Ports Authority (SLPA) could be settled out of court after presiding Judge Patrick Hamilton set a date for both parties to meet and try to settle the dispute once and for all.
Justice Hamilton observed that the matter has been in court for quite a long time, although relating to just an issue of calculation of benefits for the redundant workers as it appears the SLPA management is reluctant to pay the former workers.
“You people will have to meet on Wednesday, 25 March (today) to discuss and try to settle this matter once and for all. If you don’t, I will settle it for you and my settlement is going to be painful,” he warned.
Addressing the bench earlier, solicitor for the complainants, Elvis Kargbo, reminded the judge about his application for a ruling in favour of his clients because neither the defendants nor their solicitors have been attending court, which the judge had promised to do, although the application was still pending.
Kargbo observed that the matter has been in court for close to four years, with five of the litigants having died without receiving their benefits.
However, solicitor for the defendants, Brima Koroma, submitted that they had severally tried to seat and sought their differences with lawyer for the litigants but to no avail, thus requesting the judge to fix a date in order that both solicitors would meet and resolve any disagreement.
Judge Hamilton in 2014 asked that a committee of six be formed, representing two persons each from both parties in the matter, including the court registrar and a senior civil servant from the Ministry of Labour to compute the benefit due to the redundant dock workers.
The class action was brought by the former workers led by one Molie Conteh in February 2012, against the management of Sierra Leone Ports Authority in the High Court, after they claimed unpaid arrears.
The matter was adjourned to 30 March.