By Alex Yomah
The Management of APM Terminal has showed what was described by scores of senators as “sheer-disregard” to the Liberian Senate, following reports of its latest decision to suspend 20 of its employees amid Senate’s probe.
The Liberian Senate is currently investigating the Management of APM Terminal over allegations of bad-labour practices against its employees.
The APM Terminal’s Workers Union had complained management of its deliberate refusal to pay them their overtime just-benefits reportedly owed them; accused the Management Human Resource Department of being allegedly involved in wrongful dismissal of employees; also accused management of illegally changing its original handbook and demand workers to sign or else face dismissal, which the Union described as a violation of the handbook, an allegation in which among other things, prompted the Senate to cite the management last Friday.
Following claims and counterclaims by the Workers Union, the Management of APM Terminal which was represented by its leadership which was termed as second layer’s leadership which was disqualified by plenary on grounds that they appeared not as a representation of management and as such, was asked to appear with proper composition of leadership to provide sufficient reasons why management should not be held in contempt after being accused by Senate’s Committee for obstructing its function.
To the dismay of the Senate, APM Terminal issued suspension letters to 20 of its employees for allegedly reporting management to the Liberian Senate when the case was purportedly before the Ministry of Labour.
The action to suspend 20 employees amid Senate’ probe in the alleged bad practices was termed as an affront to the Senate.
The management of APM Terminal’s action against its employees exasperated members of the Senate and implored the presiding officer to increase charges of contempt against management.
Bomi County Senator, Sando Johnson recommended that Senate demands management to rescind said decision, stating that if said decision is not inverted, it has the predisposition for the public to disrespect the Senate as well.
He also noted that failure for the Senate to act, it would set a bad signal that would evidentially preclude other aggrieved citizens from seeking redress from their direct representatives, and also give sufficient reasons for any government’s entity to show similar gross disrespect to the legislature.
Responding to the accusation, APM Terminal Human Resource, Mr. Samuel Dou among other things, confirmed the suspension of the number of people but denied report that they were suspended for complaining the entity to the Senate.
According to the HR, the 20 employees were suspended with pay-pending investigation and findings.
Following cross interactions, the Senate asked the Management of APM Terminal to allow Senate to go to Executive session where plenary can take a decision on the outcome of the hearing. Meanwhile, our reporter said, the Senators remained in Executive when he departed.
APM Disregards Senate?
By Alex Yomah