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Mines workers complain union

Mines workers complain union

Over 400 members of the United Mines Workers Union in eight mining chiefdoms in Bo, Moyamba and Bonthe Districts, have accused their executive of not seeking their interest.

According to the workers, they pay monthly subscriptions of Le 5,000 each but that this money is not accounted for as they charged, “we joined the union to advocate on our behalf but disappointingly, this is not the case, the reason why we are subjected to all forms of abuse and neglect by management.”

Ibrahim Tarawallie, a worker at the Public Workers Mining (PWM) International, disclosed that the company signed a five-year agreement with Sierra Leone Mining Limited to mine bauxite but that the agreement was extended for another one year ending 14th November 2010 and disclosed that plans are now underway for Vimetco, a new company, to takeover from Sierra Leone Mining Limited.

He further underlined that the union is only interested in seeking the interest of mining companies and revealed that the Transport Manager of PWM, Quean Barry, who was once deported for being rude to workers has returned and now working for the company with no sign of remorse.

Quean Barry, who is still rude to workers, has the blessing of the union Secretary General, Ezekiel Dyke as the workers further disclosed that any of their colleagues who advocate for better conditions of service is sacked under the guise of redundancy.

The workers further revealed that their colleagues at Sierra Rutile worked as casual workers for two years without them being permanent but that two expatriates had to resign when they could not succeed to make them permanent workers.

Eight months ago, the workers recalled, an accident occurred along Nitti Road involving thirty-six (36) workers, two of whom died but noted dishearteningly that they were only paid Le 200,000 each.

The services of a driver employed by Sierra Rutile on 22nd February 2010 was arbitrarily terminated on 20th August 2010 without a letter and end of service benefits allegedly due to pilfering with fuel and that the union did nothing to address the matter.

“Election of a new President for the Union Branch scheduled for October this year was postponed by Ezekiel Dyke without the consent of other stakeholders who support the present union representative, Mohamed Swarray, a stooge of Ezekiel Dyke. We are yearning for the election to be conducted because our favorite candidate is Alusine Kanu,” they disclosed.

Another worker, Abdul Lahai revealed that Ezekiel Dyke told them that Alusine Kanu is not a son of the soil but a Temne and that he should not be elected to the position and appealed to the relevant authorities to swiftly intervene to address the matter.

Ezekiel Dyke however denied all the allegations levied against him when contacted at his 19 Krootown Road office yesterday and revealed that the elections were postponed to March 2011 as no aspirant has declared for any of the positions.

Ezekiel Dyke further revealed that according to the union constitution, only up-to-date paid up members and current employees on payroll within a branch are eligible to vote or be voted for.

He enlightened that the union is seeking the interest of workers and revealed that the union also ensures that those who are involved in accidents are compensated.

By A.R. Bedor Kamara

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