Ministry of Labor Resolves APM Terminals Impasse
Monrovia – The Ministry of Labor, after an investigation, has ruled into the stalemate between APM Terminals and its employees, requesting the company to remit all employees’ unpaid leave allowances.
The Ministry, in its ruling, said the APM management must make the payment within 15 working days and inform the Ministry of the calculation done by staff and schedule for payment.
The Ministry also urged the firm to expedite the contract review process for all third-party contractors and share its proposals on further action with the Ministry within 30 days.
The ruling stressed that “denying deserving employees due increment and threatening employees are of a specific nature and could not be handled within the scope of the investigation.”
The Ministry requests that the company should apply existing precedent in the violation of conflict of interest by Madam Alimata Johnson in an impartial fashion.
It can be recalled that on Monday, March 5, workers at APM Terminal boycotted work, citing poor working conditions and made several demands.
In order to end the impasse, the APM Terminal management requested intervention by the Ministry of Labor.
Labor Minister Moses Y. Kollie deployed the Assistant Minister for Labor Standards, Atty. Welma Blaye Sampson and Assistant Minister for Trade Union and Social Dialogue, Hon. Togba R. Croyee Porte to mitigate the situation.
The workers alleged that they were being marginalized by the management, through its HR Director, Madam Johnson who had an unacceptable conflict of interest because her husband is head of a company called Liberia Reconstruction and Development Company that does business with APM Terminals.
The employees added that Mrs. Johnson and Mr. Karl Gnonlonfin were wrongfully dismissing employees, changing the employee’s handbook without permission, denying deserving employees’ salary increment, threatening workers, and keeping persons on contract rather than employment, changing insurance provider and failure to pay leave allowance.
The management on the other hand, requested a declaration from the Ministry that the days of reduced productivity at work were illegal strikes.
The management conceded it changed the workers’ handbook and insurance provider but said the actions were within their powers as provided in their handbook and done in good faith.
The management, however, denied the substance and factual nature of the several other allegations by the workers.
The Ministry of Labor disagreed that the strike was illegal; however, stated that any unexcused absences after Tuesday, March 6, were not in the spirit of the investigation.
Labor said it is unable to agree with the workers that change to the handbook and insurance provisions, which were shown during the investigation meeting of Thursday, March 8, 2018, were abused of the management powers.
The Ministry agrees that the situation, as presented by the complaint regarding the HR Director, Madam Alimata K. Johnson, depicts a violation of subheading II (Conflict of Interest) in the Code of Business Ethics found on page 3 of the Handbook.
The Ministry is also unimpressed that though APM Terminals management had in its possession all documents which could create a contrary impression, including copy of contracts and any relevant correspondence, such was not provided within the time requested, an indication that they may not exist.