At least 31 retirees of the Liberia Revenue Authority yesterday staged a protest in demand of their retirement benefits at the headquarters of the LRA. The demonstration was sparked by what the group termed as management’s refusal to pay their retirement benefits.
The group calling themselves the ‘Proposed Retirees Of the Liberia Revenue Authority,’ alleged that some of them have been working over 18 years now and the Commissioner of the Liberia Revenue Authority, Elfreda Tamba, in the absence of formal documentation, unilaterally retired them.
The group’s leader, Mulbah P. Gayflor, explained that when their retirement was announced they had no option but to resort to legal action to address their grievances. According to him, the process has been ongoing for about a year now with no apparent end in sight.
“We went to the labor court because we strongly believe in the rule of law. However, the Justice Minister intervened and promised to resolve the matter and we accepted it because we wanted peace,” Gayflor noted.
He alleged that the head of the LRA, Elfreda Stewart Tamba, wrote and informed them of the management’s decision to retire them in September 2016, but that, to the contrary, they were retired well in advance of the proposed retirement date and their names accordingly removed from the payroll.
Gayflor further disclosed that some of those retired had not completed 25 years of service, as required by law.
He said they had assembled at the LRA head-office in protest because they had exhausted all peaceful means to resolving the problem. He stated that the Justice Minister’s proposed intervention in the matter had raised their hopes, which had since been dashed owing to the minister’s non-action on the matter.
Gayflor noted that they respect the Act that created the LRA, for which they have been engaging the management in a peaceful manner. Since none of these approaches have worked out, he said they were compelled to resort to the protest action, and will not relent until the LRA pays their just benefits.
“We have worked and she [Tamba] must pay us and in fact they have been deducting from our salaries for the length of time we’ve been working for, yet she is not pleased and wants to keep our money. We think this is not fair in our modern society,” said a visibly upset Gayflor.
Meanwhile, the management of the Liberia Revenue Authority has yet to comment on the situation. Attempts to get a response from the LRA was not successful because the Daily Observer was told that the head of the National Traditional Council, Chief Zanzan Karwor, and representatives from the Ministry of Labor were holding an important meeting with LRA officials on the matter.
The group, however, promised to continue their protest action if nothing is done to remedy the situation.