The Inquirer is a leading independent daily newspaper published in Liberia, based in Monrovia. It is privately owned with a "good reputation".

Policy Makers Urged To Revisit Labor Laws

Mr. Jonathan Armah Baxter, a prominent citizen has urged policy-makers to revisit the labour sector mainly laws and the aspect that has to do with the levying of fined against concessionaires or companies whenever the violate or contravene the Decent Work Act.
He said this become necessary because of the numerous abuses or human rights violations been experience by employee(Liberians) by their employer(s) mainly multinational and/or investor(s) and the little fined like US$500 imposed thereof.
Baxter believes been that US$500 fined against company (ies) or concessionaires is small; these companies like A.P. Moller-Maersk Group known as APM Terminals Liberia, which holds the concession to operate the Free Port of Monrovia for 25 years, is taking disadvantaged of Liberians.
Armah said their letters were signed by George G. Adjei, a Ghanaian National and General Manager of the Company citing “global economic factors” and more so by the severe down-turn in the Liberian economy.
Following the receipt of the letter, he continued: “I called NPA’s Board of Directors’ Chairman, Richard Devine, whether or not he was in the know of the Terminals Liberia’s decision, and he replied no.”
He said usually, quarterly meetings are held with the employees about the positive and negative of the company, but this time around the meeting was held during unusual time which was Friday, 25 September, before the issuance of the termination services letters on Sunday, 27 September.
On Tuesday, 8 October, they appeared for hearing at Labor Ministry, thereafter the latter came out with the findings stating that AMP Terminals should sit with us and negotiate but the company refused.
Unfortunately, Baxter went further that to their utmost surprising or secretly fourteen (14) of the seventeen (17) redundant employees had already signed for their entitlements from the company unknowing to him and two (2) others (name withheld).
Notwithstanding, he stated the Labor Ministry then mandated the APM Terminals Liberia to reinstate the 2 names with-held but until now the company had refused, adding, “Because the Terminals contravened Section 14.5(i) of the Decent Work Act as regard period of notice to be granted the Ministry for redundancy.”
Jonathan, who described their termination of services as “without advanced notice of one (1) month” as required by labor laws, said the Terminals action was meant to deprive them of completing their remaining times or months.
“I have 1 year and 3 months left to retirement but they just decided to rob me of my full entitlements before the time. And this is about fair-play and justice of others, who are in the employ of the company, and not about Armah Baxter,” he indicated.
Armah stated that majority of the redundant workers have received their entitlements but not him and he does not know the reasons. Baxter and others were recruited in 2011 as employment examination was administered to them at the Episcopal B. W Harris High School in Monrovia.
The written examination and interviewed was administered by expatriates before their employment with the APM Terminals Liberia. “I want to honorably retire for my children and grandchildren to see something tangible of all these years I am having on earth while still alive.”
APM Terminals Liberia is a part of A.P. Moller-Maersk, an integrated container logistics company working to connect and simplify its customers’ supply chains. As a global leader in shipping services, they operate in 130 countries and employ roughly 76,000.
Their mission, according to their officials, is to enable and facilitate global supply chains and provide opportunities for their customers to trade globally. APM Terminals Liberia claims to have employs over 250 people and indirectly employs a further 700 Liberians.

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