The former senior staff of APM Terminals Liberia who recently took the company to court to settle pension, leave allowance and other benefits says the fate of the company has worsened amid documented evidence his lawyers continue to present during hearings.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily Observer on Tuesday, August 25, 2020, following an open hearing at the Ministry of Labor in Monrovia, the former employee indicated that the lawsuit filed against the company is intended to settle his benefits for the 10-year period during which he was employed there.
“There are more witnesses to testify and more documented evidence to present that will expose the company. This case is all about basic arithmetic and committing to what is agreed upon. The current MD just doesn’t get it,” former official said.
According to the former staffer, the benefits included pension, paid leave and a 20 percent pay increase, a total value, including litigation fees, in the range of US$100,000 to US$150,000.
The former official said the hearings have been marked by presentations of unarguable facts through his lawyers and he is now poised to receive his benefits from the company.
“This is not just intended to get my benefits owed by APM Terminals but to ensure that both the company and the employee are loyal to each other. If for any reason a company decides to retire an employee, the company should settle the person,” former APM Terminals staff said.
Based on documented facts, the former official said the company’s lawyers are now finding it very difficult to defend its interest, stating, “it’s almost impossible to bend the documented facts as in my case.”
“I strongly believe that this case will be settled at the Labor Ministry instead of going to the Supreme Court considering the evidence produced [and] points raised by my lawyers. Again, this is just the matter of time, but I’m overly convinced of getting everything APM Terminals has for me,” former official told the Daily Observer.
Commenting on his retirement, the former official said the company decision to retire him was based on his continuous engagements of the management to adhere to every policy governing the employees without discrimination; something he said the management, under George Adjei, has failed to do.
According to him the company, headed by Managing Director Adjei, continues to be in the media for the “wrong reasons” including protest for employees’ benefits that led to the government intervention.
The former official said he remains disappointed in the current management and has no regret in taking the company to task for payment of his benefits for the period of 10 years.
Lamenting on accumulation of US$100,000, the former official said for instance in 2015, his annual salary was US$70,416, which was divided by 13 months instead of 12 months, disallowing him from getting the extra one month salary in full, as indicated by management.
According to him, with his annual salary for 2015 divided by 13 months, he received US$5,416.62 per month that year. However, according to him, the actual calculation should have been the annual salary divided by 12 months instead of thirteen months, giving him US$5,868 per month for the 12 months, plus an extra US$5,868 at the end of the year.
Instead, based on what he received that year, approximately US$451.38 was deducted from his monthly salary throughout the year, he claims. Essentially, for 12 months that year, he should have received US$5,868 per month and, according to his contract, he should have received a 13th disbursement of the same amount, US$5,868.
He said the extra one month salary withheld each year between 2013 and 2019 before retirement amounts to US$40,588.17.
The former employee had the same complaint concerning his leave allowance for the same period, 2013 through 2019. According to him, APM Terminals paid him a leave allowances up to half of what he was actually supposed to receive each year, amount in total to US$20,294.08 for the period in question.
On the pension issue, the former official said considering, for instance, that the annual salary for 2015 was US$70,416, the expected pension salary is 10 percent of his annual salary. However, his total expected pension for the period 2015-2019 from APM Terminals, which he said amounts to US$44,691.10, is yet to be paid.