The Sierra Leone Dock Workers Union has expressed dismay and frustration over the management of the Sierra Leone Ports Authority for inhumanly treating their welfare with levity.
The dock workers accused Port management of failure to improve on their conditions of service and that they have been working under an unsafe environment without protective gears.
Our investigative reporter yesterday visited the Port Authority and observed that most of the dock workers comprising of crane controllers, laborers were dressed in rags without adequate safety measures to protect workers on site.
The dock is poorly managed by authorities Mohamed Kamara a dock worker lamented to this Press. He furthered that Management do not even care for our welfare and our salaries are meager which he said has made the work extremely difficult at the Port.
Kamara took this Press on a conducted tour of their work place which he referred to as a slave port because “we have not been duly paid according to our job description and if we attempt to complain we will be forced to resign” he queried.
This time of treatment is human and a violation of workers right can you imagine working in this type of environment without mask, gloves, boots and other gears considering the high level of suffocation at the port when offloading cement bags and rice. Kamara revealed.
He also disclosed that the dock site is cramped and hot scrapped vehicles are haphazardly parked along the dock, noting that during the pick of the day you can see dock workers sweating profusely the air we breathe is also polluted and unsafe.
Our reporter managed to talk to some of the executives at the dock who begged for anonymity disclosed that the Port Management does not care about the welfare of workers because there is growing demand for employment at the port.
It was disclosed that if dock workers insist in complaining about their conditions of service port management will fire them and employ others who are willing to work under such environment.
Our investigative reporter also contacted the President of the Sierra Leone Dock Workers Union Abdulai K Knasieu at his office out side the Port Compound precisely adjacent the dilapidated Old Fourah Bay College building to get his own side of the story.
The president of the dock workers Union was also in a frustrated and disappointed mood as he left his desk to respond to the dock workers poor conditions of service at the port.
He disclosed that all the allegations levied against Port Management are true; workers have been working at the port for years without any protection like mask, gloves, boots, rain coats and other protective gears.
He also revealed that workers have also been deprived access to their monthly contributions towards a cooperative society they established for workers benefits in the future; he however accused the previous management of the corporative society of fraudulent conversion.
He disclosed that 25 acres of land has been secured at Devil Hole east end of Freetown, but the land is acquisition is also facing serious set backs.
President Knasieu also confirmed that a cross section of dock workers have withdrawn their membership from the corporative due to bad management and lack of commitment by port management to refund their monthly contributions.
He also disclosed that Union executives are working hard and using all types of diplomatic methodologies to ensure port management comply to the needs of their workers who are suffering as a result of poor conditions of service at the port.
On the question of workers subscription to NASSIT he confirmed that permanent staff has been issued with NASSIT statement of account and modalities are being worked out for others.
He also threatened to take legal action against management if they continue to drag their feet over the welfare of dock workers at the port despite the formation of a committee to look in to the matter.
In another development the National Commission for Privatization yesterday met with Port Management and the Board of Directors to discuss, sensitize staff and present a report on the privatization of the Sierra Leone Port Authority. Press releases are expected to be sent to the media on the issue at a later date that if the papers were done quickly,