-Expresses disappointment in APM Terminals Managing Director
A former senior staff of APM Terminals Liberia has filed a lawsuit against the company for its failure to settle his benefits for the 10 years which he worked there, including pension, paid leave and a 20 percent pay increase, a total value, including litigation fees, in the range of US$100,000 to $150,000.
The former official, who said he was hired as the most senior Liberian employee of the company on December 6, 2010, told an open hearing at the Ministry of Labor on August 5, 2020 that during his years as an employee, there were several agreements that the company never fulfilled, and therefore he has filed a court case against APM Terminals Liberia to compel the company to meet all of its obligations to him.
The former official says he was involuntarily retired, following a series of persistent inquiries he made to the company’s management through the human resources department about discrepancies in the aforementioned emoluments connected to his salary and status while employed at the company.
According to him, it is disappointing that APM Terminals is respected globally as a very good company to work for but, in Liberia, the situation appears to be different. He said before the current Manager George Adjei took over, APM Terminals was one of the most prestigious companies to work for in Liberia.
A spokesperson for the company said he could not address the matter and referred the Daily Observer to the head of human resources for clarity.
In a telephone call placed by the Daily Observer to APM Terminals about its former staff’s complaints, Mr. Sam Duo, head of human resources for APM Terminals Liberia, said he could not speak to the matter right away, due to “strict compliance policies with media engagement.” He promised to run our requests by the company’s compliance head for advice and give feedback.
There has been no feedback from Duo or the compliance officer up to the publication of this story.
The former official claimed that at his last raise, his salary was US$80,000 a year, which would be approximately US$6,666.67 per month.
“For instance, my letter of employment says I was supposed to get one extra month’s pay every year, particularly in December. This did not happen up to my retirement but, instead, they divided my annual salary by 13 because they did not want to give me an extra one month’s salary as indicated by the employment letter. I am also supposed to receive an average of my annual salary for leave but I did not get it,” the man said.
For instance in 2015, he said, 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.
Also commenting on the pension, the former employee 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.
“The current managing director has taken the company in a different direction, thereby putting the company in the news for bad reasons. When the previous manager was here, the company was in the news for good reasons,” the retired employee said.
He said during 2015, APM Terminals management and the Liberian senior managers came to an agreement to set a pension scheme for the senior managers. However, over the years of his employment, the company failed to live up to said agreement. He said APM Terminals was also supposed to pay 20 percent of their respective salaries to Liberian managers, to reduce the gap between foreign managers and Liberian managers, but the company failed to even do that.
“The Ministry of Labor found out that there was a wide gap between the Liberian senior managers and the foreign managers, and everyone sat down and agreed about the 20 percent increment. I raised those issues when the company was reneging to pay and I have documents to it,” the APM Terminals former employee said.
According to him, he believes that his involuntary retirement is due to the consistent pressure being put on the company management while he was in the employ of the company, to properly cater to employees and adhere to commitment made to employees.
He expressed confidence in the Labour Ministry, saying: “I believe in the ministry and I know they will do the right thing to ensure that I get my benefits by doing what the law says.”
He said that if the Ministry of Labor fails to ensure that APM Terminals settles him, the case will be taken to the Supreme Court of Liberia.
“There are some issues that were not resolved during my employment and up to date. The case is currently at the Ministry of Labor. I was also retired without my consent or approval, which is a different case,” the former employee said.