Farmington Hotel Retrenches 40 Employees

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The front view of the hotel

By C.Y. Kwanue

The euphoria that greeted about 180 new employees of the Farmington Hotel near Robertsfield, Lower Margibi County, was short-lived on Monday when news surfaced that the services of 40 persons had been terminated.

The affected employees, who now appeal for government’s intervention, said they were laid off two weeks to the end of their respective probation period. They hailed President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for appreciating them with a purse of US$1500 for “the able manner in which they handled the recently hosted historic 51st ECOWAS Submit in the country.

The massive downsizing reportedly took place on June 22, two months and three weeks after hiring and giving hope to the employees, many of whom claimed they left their previous jobs in Monrovia and other parts of the country. Some of them, who resettled in Smell-No-Taste (Unification Town) in Margibi County, said their collective future is in limbo.

“I cried because I left my family with the hope of getting a new and permanent job in the private sector, but now I have been disappointed,” one of the affected employees told the Daily Observer yesterday via mobile phone.

Daily Observer also gathered that Farmington Hotel’s Liberia-based Lebanese partners, representing the Abi Jaoudi Group, masterminded the retrenchment exercise at the hotel.

Farmington’s decision to retrench 40 of its workforce came barely a month after the government granted the management a 30-year tax holiday.

On May 30 of this year, 34 of the 73 Representatives on Capitol Hill voted to ratify a 30-year Investment Incentive Agreement between Liberia and the Roberts International Airport (RIA) Hotel Resorts, Incorporated. In that session, there were 38 Representatives present, and 34 of them voted overwhelmingly for the passage of the ‘Tax Holiday’ agreement, following a report from the Joint Committee on Investment and Concession and Judiciary.

The report argued that the hotel or tourism business is a struggling industry in Liberia, and should therefore enjoy a tax holiday.

But some of those retrenched, according to report, have earlier signed a year contract with the management dating April this year to April 7 next year, but the management reportedly refused to give out copy of the alleged contract to the employees. The hotel management also issued identification cards to each of the affected employees dating from May, 2017 to May 2018 as expiration date, but to the surprise of the terminated staff was informed of being overstaffed.

However, the general manager, Roland Stilting, told the Daily Observer yesterday via mobile phone that his management team implemented the termination exercise, “according to the book—the Decent Work Act.” Under Section 14.2 of the Decent Work Act, an employer has the right to terminate employment concluded for a definite period at any time provided that he has cause to do so under section 14.3, which says an employer has the right to terminate employment concluded for an indefinite period at any time provided that the employer follows the procedures specified in those sections as appropriate. In this context, it is not clear as to which of the rules the management had applied before taking the decision to terminate the employees.

“Yes, we have terminated a good number of our staff, some for poor performances, but we go by what is on the book (labor standards),” Stilting said. He said prior to the exercise, management evaluated the performance of each of the terminated employees who, “did not meet our requirement.” He said the retrenched were happy, “because they were certificated and given an overtime pay having participated in our one-month program.” He did not elaborate on the one-month program.

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12 COMMENTS

  1. They have to be fired to make way for the relatives and girlfriends of the Senators who give the hotel the tax breaks.

  2. Total nonsense, to hear that Law makers overwhelmingly voted tax holiday for Farmington Hotel. What kind of Country is this, is Liberians Law Makers brains are shifted, are they seeing the economic hardship Liberians are going through, they must be booted out of the Capitol Building.

  3. Jobs were the rationale for a whopping 30 years tax break, but the management of the hotel just exploded that joke. EJS took living away from poor fishermen to please rich fishermen, and protects rich hoteliers from contributing their fare share to the nation’s revenues.

    So after subduing the Legislature and Judiciary by gifting them with bonanza compensation packages that should’ve been put to better use providing opportunities for the vast majority, EJS is simply riding Liberia like a donkey.

    And that’s what being “great” ought to be and feel like; go Juwillijuah’s daughter, give it to the grovelling grumbling wimps.

    My dear EJS, no matter what the whiners may say, whenever the history of this era is written, nobody would ever forget that an amazon born of a Kru woman from Sinoe County reigned with an iron fist over Liberia, and her play name was Iron Lady: Congrats!

    • Well articulated, Moses, I agree 110%. Interestingly, there are some underground speculations that EJS might have a lion share in the Farmington Hotel and is only using her Lebanese partners to manage this lucrative business for her. I can’t wait for a genuine leadership of Liberia with patriotism and love of Country at heart.

  4. Very bad for our country, lawmakers voted to grant Farmington hotel 30 years tax holiday? Sounds so crazy!!!!! Let us not blamed the executive for our country’s problems.

  5. These people who call themselves representatives of the people are greedy shameless, heartless, corrupt and wicked because they have ignored the cries of struggling Liberian businesses especially those in the hospitality and entertainment industry. Why has the Legislature not passed a bill granting similar incentives to Liberian entrepreneurs- the answer is simple and it is because Liberian entrepreneurs lack the financial wherewithal to pay bribes to officials of GOL including the hefty brown envelopes for legislators.

    It is a stinking shame for a government that promised so much and raised so much hopes to find itself as a a footstool of unscrupulous foreign business interests except of course all from the upper most echelon down are paid for and bought, but Cat licked their faces so no shame yah! But time coming, dey way see!

    • Thanks, Mr. Stewart, well said. Most of the time, I cannot discern a criminal gang invading the Liberian Nation from the Government of Liberia under Madam Sirleaf. These so-called Lawbreakers inaccurately referenced as Lawmakers are even worst than I expected. This is one reason I have always advocated for a Jerry Rawlings type of leader in Liberia at this time. With this level of criminality and the massive mortgaging of Liberia’s resources, this Nation needs a combination of miracle and leaders who will administer the affairs without fear or favor.

  6. Impunity lives growing ever stronger and free
    Promises to rein her in loudly proclaimed but were never meant to be
    Her vanity, her don’t give a damn attitude about you or me
    She flaunts not in pretense but for all to know and for all to see
    That she’s hard like rock, strong like iron-no pain she can feel
    So don’t dare her, don’t try her you put foot you die for free
    Just ask Saah Halee if you don’t believe

  7. Comment:OMG….why this time in this LIBERIA things too hard like this menhhh …our prayers with u all folks for God intervention yaaa

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