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LAB threaten court action against GITEX Company
Written by Expotimes   
Friday, 29 September 2017 17:10

The Executive Director of the Legal Aid Board, Ms. Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles has given GITEX Company up to Tuesday, 3 October 2017 at 10 am to agree to pay salary areas and benefits to eighty-two employees or risk being dragged to the Industrial Court.

 

She issued the ultimatum during a meeting with two representatives of the company and nineteen of the affected employees in the conference room of the Legal Aid Board in Freetown on Wednesday, October 27.

 

 

 

The meeting follows a complaint against GITEX from fifteen employees on October 26. The employees have been casual staff for several years, some since 2001. It also emerged that all the eighty–two workers at the company are casuals.

The nineteen affected employees at the meeting made it very clear that they are no longer interested in the job. Ibrahim Sesay an Operator said he has served as casual staff for fourteen years and was paid Le 29,000 (U$ 3.8) per day with no allowance.

 

The Personnel Manager of GITEX, Sembu Sesay said casuals are taken on a weekly basis depending on the work that is available. The Public Relations Officer for the company, Francis Konneh said their policy on casual staff is informed by the advice they received from the Labour Office in the East. The office had advised that the company can maintain staff as casuals as long as they are not made to work for six months without a break.

 

Ms. Carlton-Hanciles condemned the 'casualization' of workers for years, which she noted is unacceptable. ‘These people have worked diligently for you for several year, they do not deserve to be treated this way,’ she said. ‘Considering the number of years they have served, the company is indebted to them in a big way.’

 

She accused the company of designing a rogue system which deprives government of revenue, deny workers the minimum wage and contribution to the National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT). She further noted that the system is designed in such a way that the workers are not entitled to Annual Leave, Sick Leave and Allowances.

 

‘You have exploited these young workers to such an extent that they would rather remain unemployed rather than continue to work with you even on a permanent basis,’ she said, adding ‘This is a shame and the owner of the company is not even here to face them.’

 

Ms. Carlton-Hanciles said she will refer the matter to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to compute the entitlements of the affected workers. This must include salary arrears noting that the minimum wage must be applied because it is law. Also, the salary must not be uniform because they have different skills and therefore served in different positions. She added that it will be based on the kind of work done by the worker. ‘The benefits must be computed as per position,’ she said. ‘It will also include NASSIT contribution for the years served and tax liabilities.’

In view of the above, the Ms. Carlton-Hanciles gave GITEX until Tuesday, 3 October 2017 to agree to honour all the entitlements due the 82 affected workers or face immediate court action.

 

Ms. Carlton-Hanciles made it very clear that she will be happy if the company does not compile because it is an opportunity to put to an end 'casualization' of workers. ‘Casualization of workers has to stop, it is exploitative, bad for employee and bad for country,’ she said.

 

 

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