Liberia: Lawmaker Accused of Bad Labor Practice
Report by Henry Karmo, [email protected]
Monrovia – Former and current employees of GEMCO are accusing their boss, Representative Crayton Duncan (UP-District #1 Sinoe County), of bad labor practice for allegedly refusing to pay them their arrears.
Representative Duncan, who chairs the House’s Labor Committee, is also accused of wrongful dismissal of employees as well as underpaying skilled employees.
In response to the allegations, Duncan described the aggrieved employees as “thieves” and “crooks.” He vowed not to pay them. The Sinoe County lawmaker, though admitted owing some of the aggrieved employees, however, stated that the number of persons, who are claiming that he owns them was “unrealistic.”
“My wife is the managing director of the company and has managed the company for 4 years. She left on maternity leave and left the company with someone to run but things got bad and so we had some financial issues.
“I saw a list of 30 persons; 10 of them are thieves and 20 are crooks. If you calculate their benefits, it sums to about US$20,000 but I will not pay a dime to anyone.
“No rouge will come and I pay him or her. According to my wife, she owes 15 persons. If they want me pay them, it has to involve the Labor Ministry. No rouge will come I pay them; if they are honest, I can pay them from my pocket.”
According to Christopher Donpo, one of the aggrieved workers, he has been with the company since 2016 as a graphic designer. According to him, he has not been paid for the last four months. “Crayton Duncan has promised on many occasions to address our salary issues and has done nothing. Every time we request for our pay, he threatens us and says to us ‘take me anywhere.’ Duncan and his wife are bad employers.”
Speaking to FrontPage Africa, Donpo further stated that Duncan has transferred ownership of the company to former Gender Minister Julia Duncan-Cassell, who, according to him, has promised to pay them but on condition that it will be part of the terms of the agreement between she and Duncan.
Like Donpo, Samuel Ndoleh, too, entered the company in 2016 as a tailor. He alleged that he was downsized after working seven months without pay and was promised that his salary would be paid to him but nothing concrete has been done about it.
“During the 2017 campaign, he told us that the company was broke because of his expenses and could not handle the wage bill and would call us back after the elections; since then we haven’t been called and haven’t received our salaries for the months we worked for,” Ndoleh said.
In a similar situation is Alberta Gwannu, who alleged that she’s owed four months in arrears.
Ms. Gwannu stated that all attempts to have Duncan pay them have so far been difficult.