Labor Minister Orders LEC to Restore Employees’ Salaries -As workers protest against illegal salary deduction
The mass protest staged by aggrieved workers of the Liberia Electricity Corporation(LEC) agitating against the illegal deduction in their salaries got response yesterday, Thursday, July 8, 2021, when the Minister of Labor, Mr. Charles H. Gibson ordered the management of the entity to restore with immediate effect the 30% of their salaries that was removed by the institution.
According to Joseph K. Nyandibo/ Director of Communications/MOL, the Minister took the decision when he met with the management and the workers union of the corporation as a way to restore calm and ensure industrial harmony at LEC. He cautioned the management against taking the employees by surprise on issues affecting the status of their jobs. He encouraged the Management to give adequate notice to the employees of upcoming changes.
The release said that Minister Gibson has also called on the management to suspend Mr. Jason Tuner, the Executive Director of General Services of LEC and asked that he be subjected to further investigation into circumstances surrounding the death of Mr. Jacob Dukuly, the Manager of Capital Feeder and T & D of the corporation.
He said the Labor Ministry will hold consultation with the Ministry of Justice and the deceased family to establish if there is a need to conduct an autopsy on the body of the dead employee.
The release further said that Minister Gibson has at the same time advised the Management of LEC not to allow Mr. Peter U. Egbodor, a Nigerian national and Meter Consultant, whose work permit has since expired, on the compounds of the LEC. The Minister has said allowing Mr. Egbodor to continue working without a valid permit is a violation of the Labour Laws of Liberia. The Minister warned that Mr. Egbodor should not be seen in an LEC uniform, vehicle or on the premises until at such time a work permit is duly issued him.
During the meeting, it was established that the leadership of the workers union did not organize or authorize the illegal strike action, but that the protest was spontaneous due to the sudden death of Dukuly, who they claimed was constantly harassed and threatened by Mr. Tuner and Mr. Egbodor.
However, the Minister used the occasion to encourage unions in the country to always seek the intervention of the Ministry of Labor before embarking on strike actions.
Meanwhile, both the workers Association and the mother union have apologized for the strike action on behalf of the LEC workers, while promising to pursue dialogue under the supervision of the Ministry of Labor on all issues between them and the LEC Management.
For their part, the Management of LEC thanked the Ministry of Labor for its swift intervention and promised to abide by the Ministry’s decisions.