-As LCCBC Employees Accuse Government of Siding with Management over workers’ ill-treatment
By R Joyclyn Wea
Amidst the alleged growing number of bad labor practices couple with alleged downsized action at the Liberia Coca-Cola bottling company (LCCBC), the Ministry of Labor has been accused of taking side with the company’s management over bad labor practices.
The employees expressed frustration in the Ministry of Labor who is the institution of government clothed with the responsibility to among other things intervene in said matters thus restoring calm between employees and employers at work places thereby ensuring an enabling fruitful environment or framework for smooth operations.
A source who beg not to be named informed this paper that Deputy Labor Minister for Manpower Planning and Development, Attorney Phil Tarpeh Dixon reportedly visited the company month ago as mean of probing into the situation at the company, but till date, nothing has change as the condition has reportedly gone from bad to worst.
The Ministry of Labour through Attorney Dixon allegedly promised employees that thing was going to be fine as he (Dixon) had sorted things out with management and that a decision was reached to increase salaries of people working at the company.
It is also alleged that the Minister Tarpeh held close door discussion with the management of LCCBC prior to his departure from the company’s facilities; thus further promising employees that their salaries would be increased to US$5 and US$10 respectively instead of the LRD$315, adding that he (Dixon) was going to be present upon their next paid day to execute such decision which he had since failed to live up to.
“When we saw the deputy minister of labor here we felt some level of relief. We thought things was going to change, but his presence has caused us more bad than good,” one of our sources noted.
Since the presence of the Deputy Minister for Manpower Development, Dixon, workers are said to be even more stigmatized thus increasing the condition from bad to worst.
“In fact, his presence her even delay our pay for last month. He promised that our salary was going to increase, but to our surprise; when we went to received our last month pay, we were given the same money which is LRD$35,” another source added.
According to our sources, the CDC’s administration is contradicting the change they (employees) voted for because they thought the environment could have been better for people at the company adding “we are frustrated in the Deputy Minister and the entire government as a whole.”
“We used to argue with our bosses regarding this government and seeing them proceeding in such form and manner is painful. Imaging your bosses telling you ehn da ley government you say you want; you have to accept anything that happen.”
It was also reported that the Ministry of Labour’s official visit further affected employees as good number of them were allegedly layoff by the company due to what the management termed as ‘financial constrains coupled with salary increment.
They are alleged Minister Dixon received bribery from the management of LCCBC reason for his refusal to meet up with promises made to employees a month ago, as well as siding with management over the current situation at the entity.
When contacted, Minister Phil Tarpeh Dixon’s Assistant only identified as Sackie said the ministry is in the know of the situation at the company.
According to him, the company wrote the ministry to among other things that it is downsizing a number of employees, but further that the Ministry of Labor was also reviewing whether or not the management action is in line with the law.
Sackie who said he could not go far into the matter on grounds that he was not clothed with authority to speak to the issue, told this paper weeks ago that the minister was on an engagement out of town, but he would be back Monday June 18, 2018 and that he would officially speak to the matter on Tuesday, June 19, 2018.
When contacted on said date, Minister Dixon’s Assistant told this paper that his boss could not speak because he was on another engagement somewhere in Kakata.
A phone call was then placed to Minister Dixon himself by this paper ranged endlessly.
Accordingly, the management of LCCBC through its Communication Officer, Victor George confirmed that the layoff of some employees is part of the company’s new strategy.
He argued that if some employees are affected by alleged bad labor practices at the company, they should channel their grievances to the institution responsible to probe into said matter.
“We have rearranged new business strategy. If some employees have problem, they can get to the government entity that is clothed with authority to closed Coca-Cola factory,” George said.
George who drilled this paper for nearly three weeks finally on Monday, June 25, 2018 told this paper that the company’s is not running a political forum and that the company will not treat anyone on that basis, noting that they have never done that and will never do that.
He asserted that the company did not break any law and that those employees were not wrongfully dismissed as claimed.
It is alleged that employees are working under dangerous circumstances and that the environment is unbearable for them at the factory.
The LCCBC management gives about 25 constructors tag even though they were in the company’s employed as daily hires and were being paid as such.
Of the 25 daily hires, our sources mentioned that closed to 20 were allegedly given tag at the detriment of the other making it also difficult for them to have free access to the facility particularly during launch hours.
“As we speak, daily hires are earning LRD$313.00 where as they ought to make US$5, while casual Laborers and others are making close to US$5.00 which contradicts the “Decent Work Act Of 2015,” a source said.
“I leave my house every day to come here to work no one give me anything for transportation. When no car leaves the company to go out to supply meaning that you did not work for that day, it will be against you and you will not receive pay for that day even though you were presence at the facility,” sources explained the alleged harsh working condition at the company.
Employees are being allegedly stigmatized on grounds that it is the government they voted for; therefore, they should accept whatever happens.
Accordingly, 62 persons were allegedly affected by the management’s downsized action of alleged harsh economic constraints facing the management.