By Bampia Bundu
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Mr. Hindolo Trye has blamed civil society activists, especially Mr. Falla Ensa N’Dayma for instigating the workers of African Minerals Limited which led to the strike action of 16th. , 17th. and 18th. April this year claiming the life of one Musu Conteh, leaving several others injured and a lot of properties destroyed.
He made these claims while giving his testimony at the just concluded public hearing of the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone held at the Bumbuna Court Barray on July 20 this year.
Continuing his testimony, Mr. Trye stated that there is evidence that as President of the Trade Union Confederation of Sierra Leone (TUC-SL), Mr. Falla Ensa D’Dayma instigated the workers of the company to go on strike.
He disclosed that his Ministry does not recognise Mr. N’Dayma’s trade union organization because they have no records of its existence, noting that it was sad that the leadership of the organisation should be posing around as if they were running a registered organisation.
He cautioned the panel to be very wary of the testimony Mr. N’Dayma will be making at the hearing since he had once published a press release castigating the Police and accusing him of receiving salary from the Africa Minerals Company, an allegation he said was a blatant lie.
“As a Government Minister I am very satisfied with my salary and I have never received any money from any company for whatever reason,” he stressed.
He described Mr. N’Dayma as one of the people who are bent on destroying the image of the country under the guise of being a civil society activist.
He however apologized to the Bumbuna community for the pain they went through during those three days, adding that the Government is very personate about them and will look up to the inquiry to come up with plausible recommendations for further action.
He also stated that his Ministry once recognized the Mining and Allied Services Union (MASU) who, he said they issued a bargaining certificate to but later had to withdraw it from them because of some discrepancy that they noticed in the documents that they submitted to the Ministry. He apologized to the panel for their having signed the documents of the MASU in the first place.
The Minister called on the job seekers and other workers to be patient with the company as the Government understand the problems they are going through.
Giving his testimony before the panel, Mr. Falla Ensa N’Dayma, revealed that Mining and Allied Service Union is affiliated to his organization, which he said was the reason he is involved in the inquiry.
When asked by the Lawyers as to what he knew about the strike action, he stated that the workers of African Minerals wrote a letter to him explaining their grievances but unfortunately he only received the letter on April 19, a day after the strike action has been completed.
During his cross examining, he made no attempt to counter the statement made by the Labour Minister as he continued to refuse to address the Minister’s assertions.
In a related development, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Franklyn Bai Kargbo explained that the Government believes in building strong institutions, referring to the Human Rights Commission as one such institution as it has proved to be strong, impartial and independent.
He also blamed the MASU for the strike action, as according to him, that union has raised the expectations of the workers of the company even though they knew that they should not have done so because they do not have a bargaining certificate to advocate for them.