Securitas Security, one of the firms providing security services for multinational firms and businesses, came under fire yesterday when its aggrieved security officers converged at the main office in Vai Town accusing the management of bad labor practices.
The disenchanted workers, represented by Gafe F. Swary, told the Daily Observer that the management of the firm had deliberately refused to pay them for the past two months, but diverting their salary money to a construction company owned and managed by the manager, Sam Sanyon.
Swary, in an angry mood, stressed that over the past months the management of the security firm has avoided contacting them and that the workers continue to work without knowing their status.
According to him, the management compelled them to work 12 hours without a day off instead of the usual 8 hours.
“When we confronted them on the matter, they told us they were not responsible because the nation was in a “state of emergency” and management can, therefore, do anything in line with workers’ demands.”
“We live far off from places we work. As a result of not paying us, we are made to walk long distances which cause us to be late most of the time. We want our pay to get out of this company’s way because it is involved in a bad labor practices,” Swary stressed.
He said clients that hired the services of the firm have terminated the contracts because of management’s refusal to pay the workers.
One of the workers said, “Other salaries we got in the past came because we demonstrated against the management. Without demonstration or strike action against this management, we cannot receive pay for our labor.”
Securitas Security Operational Assistant, Flomonah Johnson, in response to the workers’ allegations, said the salaries are delayed because their clients have not paid them.
According to him, they have planned to pay the staff on Wednesday (yesterday, Oct. 1, and to reassign people who would want to remain with the entity.
He said the companies they serve have terminated the contracts because of the current state of emergency in the country.
The Labor sector in Liberia is often vulnerable. There is often public outcry that managers and owners of entities often exploit people’s labor.
It is against such bad labor practices that labor unions and citizens have consistently petitioned the National Legislature to pass the Decent Work Bill Act, which calls, among other things, for the setting up of a minimum wage for an average Liberian worker.
Delay in paying salaries to employees, especially in the private sector, has become a culture, and in most instances some are denied their salaries while others work but without status on the job.