WEST Kevcon which is contracted by the Government of Liberia to build the New Redemption Hospital at Caldwell in Montserrado County, herein rebuffs claims by some unskilled daily hires that the company is engaged in bad labor practices, and therefore protested in demand for their salaries as reported in the FrontPage Africa Wednesday, 27 February. The workers allege that the company underpays unskilled laborers, does not provide transportation, deducts high amounts as taxes and National Social Security & Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP) premium.
However, the company’s Human Resource Consultant, Pewee Flomoku said the firm pays a minimum wage of US$7.00 to US$15.00 daily rate to daily hires, and not the US$3.50 the 2015 Decent Work Act requires. He said the company pays this much to motivate the workers (mostly Liberians) giving the prevailing economic situation. On the vexing issue of taxes, Pewee mentioned the Government requires companies operating in Liberia to withhold taxes of their workers and/or employees. “We want to err on the side of the law by withholding the monies we remit to Government as income taxes and NASSCORP premium,” the Human Resource Consultant added. Of the 10 percent workers’ contribution to NASSCORP, to date, the company pays six percent while the workers four percent. Regarding transportation, he stated the company has no budget to cover daily hires’ conveyance because they are non-employees. It is all this misunderstanding, according to FrontPage Africa, the unskilled daily hires term as “abusing their rights.”
Human Resource Consultant Flomoku intimated: “The company feeds the almost 400 plus daily hires and provides safe-drinking water as oppose to assertions that the workers beg for food from friends because the company refuses to live up to promises to give them US$50 when assigned outstation every month. Every worker that is moved to a construction site is provided lodging and feeding.”
In addition, WEST Kevcon makes available safety gears (steel-toe boots, helmets, gloves, goggles, reflective vests, etc.) and all necessary working equipment to carry out their tasks. Touching on claims that the company is in cohort with criminals that it pays the workers at night hours for suspected thieves to attack them, Pewee said it is unthinkable that a reputable company like WEST Kevcon would connive with criminals to attack its workers and take away monies paid to them. Due to the huge number of workers that are paid daily, on an occasion, the company paid up to 8:00 pm because the workers demanded to receive their daily wage otherwise the pay team would not leave, he said. “To improve this, considering the safety of staff and workers, the company increased the number of paying teams and adjusted the paying time to the extent that it has not received any complaints since then.”
Differing with the daily hires’ claims that some of them have worked for WEST Kevcon for nine years, the Human Resource Consultant clarified that the company has been around since October 2018, when it won the bid to construct the New Redemption Hospital being funded by the Government of Liberia and the World Bank through the Ministry of Health. “Therefore, it is inconceivable for a daily hire to have worked for the company for nine years.”
The company encourages daily hires to resort to dialogue with management whenever there are grievances or concerns. Management seeks to improve productivity with the aim of delivering quality service on time. Similarly, WEST Kevcon asks the media to cross-check or ascertain facts before going to press as the company has nothing to hide.
Human Resource Consultant
WEST Kevcon, Inc.