Drama unfolded yesterday when over 400 retrenched workers of Regimanuel Gray Sierra Leone Limited besieged the company’s headquarters at Wilberforce in Freetown protesting untimely termination of their contracts and delay in paying of their terminal benefits.
The atmosphere was chaotic as the furious retrenched workers were all over the company compound demanding explanation from the Regimanuel Gray top management as to why the delay in payment of their hard earned benefits.
Apparently terrified Country Manager Kingsford Amoah and other staff members were securely locked up in their office peeping through the windows.
Police from Congo Cross division who materialized at the scene held closed door meetings with a section of the workers and the top management while huge proportion of the disgruntled workers and journalists who went to cover the episode were restricted from knowing what went on in that meeting.
One of the representatives of the workers Mustapha Vandi who breezed out of the meeting confided in Awoko that, there was a stalemate in the meeting as management of Regimanuel Gray were still adamant to yield to the demands of the retrenched workers.
He however confirmed that one ASP Sesay of the Congo cross police station was investigating the cause of the commotion, but he said they were no longer ready to waste time with management as they needed their money by ‘hook and crook .’
They reportedly voiced out that they were “fed up with police double standards in the whole saga” stating that closed door meetings were far from being the resolution to their plights as there was every tendency for management to manipulate police so that the case might die a natural death.
Alex Norman one of the members of a ten man committee representing the retrenched workers, said since 23rd December, 2008 when they were prematurely terminated after 3 months of signing contract with the company, nothing had been paid to them as benefit for all their services rendered.
He said, there are 3 categories of workers, they include permanent, casual and casual workers but all of whom were sacked for no good reason.
This was contrary to contractual agreement which stipulated that a contract would only be terminated if a worker absent his/herself from work without permission.
According to a letter dated 15th December, 2008 signed by the Country Manager of Regimanuel Gray Kingsford Amoah, the termination was as a result of difficulties encountered by the company that prompted temporarily closure of the Goderich site since December last year.
The letter indicated that a 7 day salary payment was to be effected to all retrenched workers by the Chief Accountant of the company from the 1st to 23rd December 2008 as stipulated in the contract.
The contract which was expected to last for 9 months from September 2008 to June 2009 only lasted for 3 months as it was terminated in October 2008 allegedly without due consideration to the 9 month contractual agreement.
Country Manager Kingsford Amoah was unable to meet with Awoko reporter on the scene, but later over the phone he consented to explain the company’s own side of the issue which will be published in the next edition. By Solomon Rogers