By Janjay F. Campbell
Several contractors at Salala Rubber Corporation (SRC) in Margibi County are complaining of being ill-treated by the management of the company. When our reporter who visited the Corporation last week she observed that contractors’ complaint ranged from unfair treatment to low or cut in salaries and benefits. The contractors’ salaries are cut into half whenever they receive them at the end of the month and the one bag of rice which each of them is entitled to is always given in halves. The workers said they have pleaded with the management several times but their plight had not been addressed.
Their living condition remains deplorable while their salaries along with their benefits cannot sustain their families.One of the contractors who preferred not to be named told this paper that even though the SRC management does not assign houses to them, the employees rent rooms to them for US$10 per month.
The contractor said they have no medical insurance and complained that if one contractor gets sick even on duty, he or she is responsible to seek healthcare independently while the SRC that contracts them is in no way responsible for the medical bills.
The contractor further explained that the rain boots they were given are torn and the management has refused to give them new ones.
However, the SRC which has been operating in Liberia since 1960 to date has unconsciously watched its contractors live in unfavorable conditions because as observed even the housing units that are being given to contractors are built from dirt bricks while some of the houses do not even have doors.
Meanwhile, when the management of SRC was contacted, Jallah Mensah admitted how the management does not deal with contractors directly instead explained that when an employee is given a work to do and if he requests for contractors, the employee is the one who contacts his or her own contractor to work for the period provided for the job.
Mr. Jallah said the contractors’ benefits are given to the employee who hired him or her for the work and it is expected to be received but for whatever happens to the contrary, the management of SRC is not responsible because it does not deal with the contractors directly.
He encouraged the contractors to report the employee by name to the management including the complainant’s own name so that the situation will be easily dealt with but the contractors confided in this paper that if any of their names are mentioned they will be denied from receiving any further contract from the Corporation.