Some 520 youths of the Freetown Waste Management Company (FWMC) including 215 street sweepers are presently on strike for their salaries, threatening to burn down the company’s Libya donated trucks if they are used to collect garbage over the weekend.
This is presently causing sleepless nights and serious concerns for the management staff of the company who explained the resultant situation.
The Operations Manager Sheku Gibril Sesay and the General Manager of the Freetown Waste Management Company Tamba Charles explained that they inherited 520 cleaners from the GTZ/Klin Salone programme.
Mr Sesay said that when they took up office on the 1st February 2008 they realized that government had budgeted only 56 million Leones for a month and one hundred and forty eight (148) million for the first three months (1st quarter), whereas the running cost they inherited was one hundred and twenty one (121) million Leones a month.
This included the cost of 520 cleaners and the 11 trucks, 2 tippers and 9 compactors which had to be fueled on a daily basis and repaired.
As a result, they explained that they had to meet with the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs who took the matter to cabinet, and later they all had audience with President Koroma requesting his executive order to increase the budgeted 56 million to the 121 million real running cost. Mr Sesay said the President approved and signed to give effect to the increase.
It was now left to the Deputy Minister of Finance Momodu Kargbo and the Deputy Director of Budget Mr Jah to release the 121 million Leones so that the Company could fulfill its obligations.
Mr Sesay and Charles say they have been trying to get the monies released but they have not been successful, which is why the 520 cleaners have not been paid for the month of March some 14 days since the Month ended.
Attempts to get the Deputy Minister Momodu Kargbo to respond to the allegations on mobile number 030-209-350 proved futile.