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Africell staff complain to Parliament

Staff of one of Sierra Leone’s topmost GSM Company, the Africell, have expressed total dissatisfaction over what they consider “poor condition of service” meted out to them amidst the present global economic trend.
In a written complaint captioned “restructuring staff salaries and allowance plus addressing other staff welfare matters” dated 8th May, 2012, the aggrieved staff noted that they request better conditions of service for all Africell staff to reflect the image of the company, which they all (Management and staff) have jointly contributed to develop.
Most, if not all of the complaints, were centered on alleged flagrant abuse of the relevant provision in article 5d of the Sierra Leone Gazette, Govt. notice no 337, relating to labor laws and social security.
Among the barrage of complains levied against the company, staff maintained that they want housing allowances to be given to them on a yearly basis and should reflect the current cost of house rent in the country, as against the present gross payment of housing allowances by the company.
Staff further alleged that the present influx of expatriates in the company is demeaning and should be reduced to a considerable 50% rate. It was revealed that the company hires expertise to paint walls and supervise garages, claiming that for every position, there is a competent Sierra Leonean even at senior management level. Therefore, “they don’t need an expatriate” in most cases, considering the claim that these expatriate incur huge costs including housing, transportation, weekly allowances, huge per diems and related benefits.
In the area of promotion, staff said that they have noticed that minimal promotions take place and that several units are without supervisors or head of sections, and that staffs that leave the company are replaced by expatriates. They affirmed that if promotions do take place however, salary (s) remain the same as previous title.
They also claimed that airtime allocation for staff is quite appalling and should be increased by at least 100%, further alleging that only 2% of staff has received capacity building training since.
Moreover, staff requested that other allowances which include travelling, medical, transportation, meal, rent etc should be increased by at least 50% in a bid to match the current economic trend in the country. They also resolved that end of year bonus structure should be reviewed and not the usual 20% of basic salary multiplied by the percentage gained in the evaluation.
Staff of the company further opined that part timers’ salaries should be upgraded and their social security paid to NASSIT, and that their quest to establish a staff association to serve as the voice for all staff of the company must be approved by management.
In another separate development, a Member of Parliament Hon. Eric Jumu representing the opposition SLPP registered a complaint in the well of Parliament in the previous sitting that the services of all GSM operators in the country (Airtel, Africell, Comium, Sierratel) are nothing to write home about. He said that his experience in recent time is that when one makes call, one is told that the phone is switched off when in actual fact it is on.
Other MPs observed that it gives headache to an attempt to make calls on mobile phones these days, as one would have to dial several times to have a single chance.
Hon. Jumu made the complaint known to the speaker of Parliament Nathaniel A. Stronge under Parliamentary Standing Order 23. But the speaker directed him to the Chairman for Committee on Information and Communications for necessary action.
By Poindexter Sama

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