Aggrieved workers of the Liberia Electricity Corporation – Nimba grid are appealing to the government for benefits they claim it owes them.
Representatives of the workers told the Daily Observer Nimba Bureau that they have worked for the corporation for five years without receiving their benefits before the corporation turned the grid over to the Jungle Energy Power (JEP), a Sanniquellie-based entity owned by businessman Tomah-Seh Floyd.
The distressed workers said they worked for the LEC shortly after the arrival of the West Africa Power Poll (WAPP) in Nimba without any benefit or salary until they were retrenched.
Emmanuel E. N. Sann, Sr., spokesperson of the group, said LEC had them process all their documents for employment, while at the same time working tirelessly alongside workers from the Energy Venture Workers (a Ghanaian firm) hired by WAPP to install the power lines from from the Ivory Coast to Liberia.
“The people used us like tools, but did not give us any incentive for our services; in the process, five of our colleagues died,” said Robertson Daysee, then an LEC focal person.
“We have held several meetings with the LEC hierarchy, including the Board Chair and directors, who assured us that we will receive our due benefits, but to no avail up to present,” Daysee said.
They quoted the officials as assuring them that as soon as the LEC starts collecting payment from customers in the county, they were going to settle monies owed to them.
But one of the workers, Peterson Segran, Sr., assigned with the Saclepea sub-station, said LEC had collected almost all their back bills from the customers in Nimba, “yet we are not hearing anything regarding the payment of our benefits they owe us.”
Prior to the turning over of the LEC Nimba grid to private entity Jungle Energy Power, the customers were said to be indebted to the corporation to the tune of US$600,000, which was left with the JEP management to collect and have it deposited in the LEC’s account.
JEP, since taking over from LEC, has consistently pressed the customers to pay their back bills, which many of the customers have long settled.
“We are 62 in all, but we are yet to get any benefit for our labor for the past years,” Daysee cried.
“The new management is collecting bills the customers owed from the previous management, but they do not want to pay us as they had promised.”
Meanwhile, former LEC Nimba grid boss Joseph Leay has acknowledged the plight of the former employees, which he said is now beyond his control, because he is no longer in the employ of the LEC, “and secondly, the case has already reached the desk of Nimba County Senator Prince Y. Johnson and the LEC Board in Monrovia.”
The workers are therefore appealing to the central government to address their plight, “or else we will all perish from hunger.”
“We are suffering and downhearted, because the people are not treating us right, a situation that has caused the deaths of some of our friends,” Daysee lamented.