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Sierra Leone News: Salpost workers strike

Workers, staff and retirees of Salpost staged a peaceful demonstration and work strike on Wednesday 17 May outside the institution’s main building on Siaka Stevens Street in downtown Freetown. The Post Office staff complained of non-payment of salaries and benefits.
Charlie Wright, the Chief Shop Steward for staff welfare union has worked at Salpost for 22 years. He described the present administration at Salpost, “It’s a one man show that includes intimidating staff who attempt to make any financial demands. He revealed he is yet to receive the many benefits he deserves, including backlogged salary, leave allowances and the rest.
Isatu Deen-Jalloh another Salpost staff and member of the welfare executive described working conditions as “appalling”. She noted that water and toilet facilities are not functioning properly, which is a disgrace to the institution and inhumane to the public and staff.
She disclosed that between, 2014-2015, after several concerns, the Government paid Le7 billion as a “bail out” to address staff concerns and to revamp operations of the institution, including the defunct post office bank, which still owes clients who banked with them.
Deen-Jalloh furthered, “Up to date, the amount in question cannot be properly accounted for and staffs continue to work, exercising patience”.
In recent times, two managements have changed hands but, the national postal services are still challenged to meet both public and staff demands.
Wright said, “As I speak, nothing has happened and the Consultant Managing Director continues to make promises that “the sun will rise once more”. But many retired staff have passed away without them or their families receiving a single dime, as benefits”.
The Sierra Leone Postal Services is one of the oldest legacies of the British during colonial rule, with everything in place to make postal services around the country effective and efficient.
Presently, Kombor Koroma, another staff member of over twenty years disclosed that Salpost provides Emergency Mail Services, sells stamps including a post bus service used to send mail around the country and to generate income for the institution.
But the question, Augustine Mansaray wants answered is, “where all the funds going? Each time the Consultant Managing Director, who receives $ 5,000 a month from the consolidated fund, will say “money is not available”.
Hassan Bangura, after 26 years of service, retire 18-months ago. He is yet to receive his leave allowances as well as his retirement benefits. “On the 18th of April another retired staff died as a result of hard times, he took to mind because he did not receive what was due him, how long do we have to endure”.
The challenges explained by staff are enormous and the problems keep mounting every day. The Consultant Managing Director’s contract will expire at the end of May 2017. With one voice, staff agitated that if there is no money why the consultant Managing Director is fighting tooth and nail to get his contract renewed, which should end this month.
Up to press time, the Consultant Managing Director, Samuel Koroma, could not be reached. His secretary noted that he was in a board meeting, which would run till the evening.
By Ade Campbell
Thursday May 18, 2017.

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