Workers at the Bank of Sierra Leone yesterday went on strike demanding improved general welfare condition and a change of management.
The workers stood in front of the bank’s facade refusing to either enter their offices or to talk to senior bank officials.
There were no placards and the only signs of a strike action were either their shouting or their standing outside.
Passing a paper from one worker to another which highlighted their grievances, several concerns were raised on the general condition of the bank.
One serious concern raised was calling on the bank for a comprehensive change of management and an increase in their salary to catch up with current economic trends.
The workers raised other serious indicting concern about the bank to investigate the Le 2billion contract awarded to one Kabba Kalu and to also investigate the purchase of a vehicle recently bought by the bank.
Also they called unfair management’s action to take decision at a short notice to pay rent allowance in December 2008 rather than the usual time. They also called on the bank to explain their Nassit difference which the former Bank Governor promised to do but to no avail and to ascertain their contributions paid to Nassit as difference.
Responding to some of the grievances of the bank’s workers the Public Relations Officer, Beresford Taylor, explained the issue of the rent allowance that “it was the bank’s policy to pay rent allowances at the beginning of every year but what happened was that members of staff will collect their rent and then move on to other jobs. Whatever allowance was paid in January in the form of rent was paid in advance.
In other words, it is something you should receive on monthly basis until the end of the year. But then management’s goodwill paid staff in advance that is, January and within that period members of staff will move on to another jobs or stop being an employer of the bank after receiving payments in the form of rent for services they did not give.”
He also reacted to the contract that the bank had procedures for the process of transaction at the bank, which he said was transparent and done through competitive bidding.
The PRO said further that the bank had its internal and external auditors who did not only audit the figures but the process.
“The award of contracts is not the responsibility of the management as there is a constituted board for that and a technical committee as well and with their decision and advice contracts are awarded.”
He commented that the generator bought by the bank was good and working and the bullion vehicle also bought which is a special kind of vehicle which is fire and bullet proof designed to transport and protect valuable items of the bank went through competitive bidding.
The PRO said management had immense respect for the workers as steps were underway to look in to their grievances.