By Nelson Manneh
About seventy-five staff of Africmed International on Monday 31st August 2020 embarked on a sit-down strike, demanding the resignation of the clinic’s human resources manager, Sanju Kumar and Modou Sise, the finance manager.
The staff stormed the premises of the clinic in Brusubi, expressing total disapproval of their bosses as they displayed placards with inscriptions. ‘Operation we can’t work with Sanju Kumar.’ ‘Sanju must go and Modou Sise should also go.’ ‘Africmed Staff has decided.’ They also demanded that risk allowances must be paid by the management of the clinic. They also demanded free and adequate supply of surgical face mask to all staff, among host of others.
The staff also demanded the payment of 25% of what they alleged was “forcefully” deducted from their August salaries and also the reinstatement of three staff of the clinic.
They gave an ultimatum to the management to meet their demands or else their sit-down would strike continue. They alleged that even the surgical face masks were sold to them at D40.
A letter dated 12 August with the subject, “Internal Memo,” which was addressed to the clinic heads of department and obtained by this medium reads: “Following consultations and the dire financial situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic which is posing challenges to the global economics and our financial situation; the management team has to review all business goals, objectives and processes in order to find ways to decrease expenses, increase revenue and protect the future well-being of the company.”
As a result of this, the letter further stated that the analysis is in effort to manage company assets conservation during this economically challenging time, adding the management team has come to a difficult but the necessary conclusion that effective August 2020, all employees will receive a 25% reduction in their monthly salaries until December 2020.
Meanwhile, another letter obtained by our reporter and addressed to the clinic administrator with the subject: “Condemnation of the applied 25% salary deduction” reads as follows: “the undersigned names and employees of Africmed International Hospital are hereby expressing our total disappointment on your recent action of cutting 25% of our salaries and we condemned the action deeply in our hearts calling it a deliberate step because we disagreed with it from the first day we had meetings with our various departmental heads.”
“Exhausting all diplomacy and referring to the above paragraph, we are hereby requesting the management of the clinic through the finance department to refund all employees the deducted 25% of their salaries latest 31 August 2020 at 10:00 am, of which failed to do so we will embark on total sit-down strike.” It stated.
Alhagie M.N. Baldeh, a staff of the clinic who is part of the task force committee for the protest, said the protest was triggered by the management’s decision to “forcefully” deduct 25% from their salaries, describing the issue as “unacceptable,” saying: “we made it clear to them that we were totally against the hospital’s decision of deducting our salaries.”
“We are out to express our anger because we have used all diplomatic channels to make sure that we settle the issues, but to no avail. However, after the protest, the hospital management called us for a meeting and we hope that some of our demands will be met,” he said.
He continued: “Currently, we are in a pandemic and as health workers, it’s important that we have all the equipment in order to protect ourselves and our patients. Therefore, we are happy that they have agreed to get us the necessary equipment. We are discussing with them on the other demands too and we have given them two weeks to settle our demands.”
Abdoulie Jobe alleged that the employment contracts of three of their staff were terminated by the management because they participated in their protest.
“We don’t want to work with the clinic’s human resources and finance managers because they turned deaf ear to the staff welfare. The most painful thing is the fact that they can’t even provide face masks to us.” he said.
This reporter yesterday went to Africmed Clinic to feel the pulse of the management regarding the allegations and demands made by the staff who protested on Monday.
The front desk secretary at AFRICMED told Foroyaa that the management of the clinic said they don’t want to talk to any reporter about the demands and allegations made by the staff.