Local workers at the working at the Sierra Leone National Stadium are on strike in demand for better pay.
They went on strike demanding better conditions of service. The workers, in expressing their grievances, cited inadequate allowances and delayed payments as the main issues for the strike.
They said that when the Chinese workers refused to work on Monday, July 24th, 2023 for a pay rise the management increased their allowances from two million Leones to two million five hundred Leones per week, when the Sierra Leonean workers only receive one million two hundred thousand Leones per month, a figure they find insufficient considering the demanding nature of their work. The local workers work throughout the week -from Monday to Sunday.
The security officers at the site said that in the security department, 36 workers are divided into two shifts, with 21 working during the day and the rest at night.
The workers complained that they are all being paid the same as the workers on the building site.
They complained of certain disciplinary measures taken against them including a deduction of NLe 500 when caught sleeping on duty and a NLe 40 deduction absent fee.
The worker said the deductions are unfair considering their low salary.
They went on to state that they do not receive medical allowances, and they work without proper safety provisions such as raincoats and rain boots during the rainy season.
The workers claim to have raised their concerns with the Chinese authorities multiple times, requesting an increase in their salaries, but their pleas have been met with refusal. Frustrated by the lack of response, the workers decided to go on strike to draw attention to their plight in hopes that their case will be looked into and addressed.
In another related development, main workers, including hostel staff, at the National Stadium, have also confirmed that they have not received salaries for over two years. Despite previous assurances from the former Minister of Sport that efforts would be made to pay them, no action has been taken.
A meeting with the stadium manager is scheduled for Friday, 28th July 2023, to address this long-standing issue and find a solution to the workers’ problems.