As Sacked Workers Issue Ultimatum Pressure Mounts on Stats-SL
224 redundant staff of Statistics Sierra Leone (SSL), who were illegally sacked, have unanimously issued a 22 working days ultimatum for the Government of Sierra Leone (GOSL) to either pay their end of service benefits or they would be forced to take the appropriate legal action.
It could be recalled that the 224 pin-coded former employees were terminated and frog marched out of their offices on 22nd May, 2019 without going through the legal procedures as enshrined in the Sierra Leone constitution.
Addressing newsmen yesterday at 18 Pa Demba Road, the Chief Executive Officer, Campaign for Human Rights and Development International (CHRDI), Abdul Fatoma said as aggrieved citizens, the meeting was organized to explain their constraints meted against them by the Statistics Council, Statistics Sierra Leone under the Supervision of Statistician General (SG), Malam Osman.
He described the untimely dismissal of citizens from work place without the due process as not only gross violation of human rights but also a complete bridge of the country’s national constitution, which he said, guarantees the protection of every citizen’s rights. “The procedures used to kick those huge numbers who are qualified citizens with masters’ degrees in Mathematics, Statistics and in various disciplines in front of their colleague workers was inhuman,” he told the news conference and drawn the attention of His Excellence Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio to very much aware that those terminated citizens are Sierra Leoneans that supposed to enjoy equal rights of employment.
“Our organization would kick against any institution which is not willing to respect the rights of citizens,” he reaffirmed and emphasized on how the terminated workers were legally employed with pin-code but in the end, they have been treated as foreign dogs.
Mr. Fatoma therefore appealed to the Government to stop spilling their governance differences against innocent citizens. The advocator reiterated that if going to the Ecowas Court would be the right solution, they are ready to go through that direction and he vehemently stated that our Government did not guarantee rights of citizens to work in governance institutions because he said, as a country we still have poor labor laws.
As a result of weak labor regulations, Mr. Fatoma said, nobody is safe in Sierra Leone when it comes to employment and rests his case by advancing that citizens need protection in their work place.
In his deliberation, the Chairman of the terminated staff, Mr. Oseh Cole said they were in the meeting to talk about their deplorable state of life as a result of what he called an unlawful dismissal perpetrated against them by the Statistics Council and the SG, Malam Osman. He furthered that it has taken them seven months since they were kicked out without receiving their benefits and thrown light on the manner in which many women have abandoned their homes and husbands as a result of their inability to honor basic domestic obligations because, they have been unnecessarily put out of job.
He said the sacked workers have not only lost two of their children because they could not afford to honor the huge medical charges but they have also lost two of their former workmates who hailed from Bombali and Koinadugu Districts respectively. He said even the Office of the Ombudsman have proved the management of SSL wrong for sacking hundreds of citizens without paying them their benefits. “Is that what we voted for,” he queried.
He called on President Bio lo critically look in to the issue and come up with acceptable solution so they would be treated as citizens but not like foreigners and beasts of burden. He encouraged the Ministry of Finance to fast track the payment of benefits to the jobless Sierra Leoneans.
In his brief statement, Abdul Karim Habib said as human rights activists, their interest in the matter was to see that the truth prevails adding that such action promotes hate, enemy and divisiveness. He described the country’s peace as fragile as a result of the failure of Government to guarantee or respect the fundamental human rights of everyt citizens and even foreigners.
One of the female terminated staff, Martha J. Koroma who have worked for the institution for over six years maintained that they have tendered complaints to the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone and other lined bodies but nothing positive has taken place. She appealed to the Government through SSL to treat them not only as citizens but as human beings for the sake of peace and unity.
Other unsatisfied victims of the said illegal termination also expressed similar sentiments.
By Abdulai Mento Kamara
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