Intermediate and Junior staff workers of the University of Sierra Leone have called for the immediate resignation of the university Vice Chancellor Prof Aiah Gbakima during a peaceful protest yesterday.
The workers from the constituent colleges of Fourah Bay College, College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences (COMAHS) and the Institute of Public Administration and Management (IPAM) held placards on a peaceful protest requesting for their leave allowance to be paid and also an inclusion of the increment of salaries by government.
The University protesters barricaded the IPAM route and stood in front of the building chanting the name of the Vice Chancellor to resign.
Prince Albert Mahoi, President of Fourah Bay College intermediate and junior staff association spoke to Awoko about the purpose of their peaceful protest. He said according to the condition of staff of the University whenever they want to go on leave, 30% of their annual basic salary should be paid to them.
He stressed that since 2003, that has not been met despite several negotiations with the University authorities. Mr Mahoi said the protest was to have been done before the university convocation but they were prevailed upon to wait after the ceremony.
Alimamy Sesay former social secretary of the intermediate and junior staff at FBC explained that “ the problem that we have is a financial one at the University but the major incident we are protesting against dated back to 2003 in relation to certain amount the University authorities owe us. Since that period and despite series of dialogue with the authorities, our entitlements have not been met and thit is why we have decided to down tools” he said.
He further explained that “ the monies that are outstanding is involve Le 34,000 which the government gave to all workers in 2003 but we in the university did not benefit from it. Also a 30% leave allowance paid to staff annually which had been pegged since 2003 and the financial policy is if you are paying some body 30% annually he should be paid on his present basic salary not what he used to earn years back.That is where the grievance is and they are supposed to pay us our backlog” he stressed.
The protest intensified until the Education Youths and Sport Minister Dr Minkailu Bah and Labour, Employment and Social Security Minister Minkailu Mansaray visited the scene to address the protesters.
He told them that their problems were his as he was keen to protect them in their jobs. “It is your right to bring up concern that affects you at your work places and if they are legitimate it is a right for those you are raising concerns against react to them. What we want is for the issues you have raised to be addressed to your satisfaction “ he told them The minister advised them to select a group that will represent them in negotiations as he will support the union in the on going negotiation. It was later decided that as the protesters demanded that the union takes over the negotiation.