By Alva M. Wolokolie
Over 200 employees mainly from the security division of the Ministry of Education yesterday disrupted normal working activities in demand of salary. The aggrieved employees barricaded the entrance of the Ministry on 19th Street and prevented the Deputy Minister for Administration, Prof. Edwin Kennedy Tetteh form leaving the building. The employees claimed they have been working for government for over 3years without pay and were promised by the education authorities that their names would one day be placed on the payroll. But astonishingly, they were invited to a relocation plan and discussion meeting by Minister Tetteh yesterday to inform them that they would not be part of the team that is expected to move in the Ministry’s new offices on 3rd Street, Sinkor.
While in the meeting, according to the spokesman of the group, Mr. Arthur Miller, Minister Tetteh disclosed to them that the Ministry does not need their service anymore and as such there will be no accommodation for them in the new building expected to host the Education Ministry.
“Could you imagine that we have been dismissed verbally; no communications to show cause why we are dismissed? We applied for this job during the administration of Mr. Othello Gongar. We have worked for three years plus. Only US$30.00 has been given us monthly as compensation because our names were not placed on the payroll,” Spokesman Miller said.
He said the Minister had earlier told them that one year salary would be disbursed but the promise had been a total fiasco.
Mr. Miller who is also the Deputy County Commander at the Ministry of Education told reporters that after few hours of their protest, there were some interventions made by other officials with the Ministry to suspend the strike action and return to the dialogue table. He said it was at that juncture that he told his men to disregard the planned protest and wait for the result that would come out of the meeting.
When Minister Tetteh came out of his office to embark his vehicle for central Monrovia, our reporter decided to ask him what led to the action of the aggrieved MOE security staff. The Deputy Minister admitted that the Ministry’s payroll cannot accommodate those employees because there has been no budgetary allotment for them.
According to him, the most appropriate thing to do is to drop those individuals and explain to them the reason for such action. “Surely, we have told them, we need to set the record straight. The Ministry cannot employ them for now to where we are going on 3rd Street. So the best to do is to stay out because the longer they work, there will be no pay for them,” Tetteh stated.