Amongst scores of staff whose labour rights were violated by the Distance Education Unit at Freetown Teachers’ College (FTC), have anonymously registered their dissatisfactions over the spate of suspension of their services by the Unit without salary. They say most of them are placed on half monthly salary and do not know where the remainder of their salaries go.
Recent amongst them is one Mr Issa Lamin on No. Magazine Cut, City Road, Wellington Freetown, a ‘graphic designer’ who was hired and attached to the unit to produce identity cards for distance education students.
Mr Lamin was on 27th March, 2020 suspended on half monthly salary, through a letter addressed to him by the Unit until investigation is done, which has not been conducted since was suspended over eight months ago.
This according to a lawyer representing Mr Lamin on the said suspension is an infringement on the labour rights of his client for which a legal action is in the process to be been instituted against FTC DEU with claims of damages in huge sum.
The lawyer therefore urged FTC-DEU staff to revoke the suspension and pay his client’s backlog of the half monthly salary it had been deducting from his salary without evidence of such being remitted into the consolidated fund within 72 hours.
Failure to comply with the demands and orders of the legal representative of the suspended and aggrieved FTC-DEU staff, the matter will be pursued to the Industrial Court for proper redress of the labour rights violation of Mr Issa Lamin.
Forum Newspaper contacted the Distance Education Department Freetown Teachers’ College through its Executive Director, Mr Issa Gbla on issues of placing the aggrieved staff on half monthly salary with suspension.
Mr Gbla refused to comment on the financial matter; saying that he is not in change with payments of staff salaries, though briefly explained why Issa Lamin was suspended, alleging that the work ethics of Mr Lamin are not encouraging. He said the action leading to his suspensions emerged after several warnings along with query letters to which he hardly reply.
I have always warned him to be regular and punctual for duty but he does not report for work on time…most times he comes to office after 12pm and what you expect from such staff. And some other time he even abandoned his duty without valid excuses, he said.
He said it is not true that the aggrieved staff was a graphic designer attached to the Distance Education Department to produce students’ identity cards, adding that the aggrieved staff was a Collator at the printing section of the Distance Education Department.
Asked further about the way forward for his partly withheld salaries, Mr Gbla said question regarding salaries should be directed to the Finance Department of the college and not him, as he is just in changed of Distance Education.
The Public Relations Officer, Max Govie who led this medium to the college’s appropriate authorities to provide clear answers on the issues, failed to take this reporter the Finance Department where lucid replies were expected from the Finance Unit on the half monthly question.