By Alvin Lansana Kargbo
Minister of Employment, Labour and Social Security, Mohamed Rahman Swaray, has conducted an inspection at the National Stadium Rehabilitation site in Freetown on the 25th August, 2023. The Minister’s visit was prompted by concerns raised by Sierra Leonean workers, represented by the Indigenous Workers’ Union.
He engaged with stakeholders to discuss safety, wages and working conditions further assuring that swift action will be instituted to address the concerns raised as well as emphasizing the dual significance of productivity and workers’ welfare.
The Minister held comprehensive discussions with officials of the Ministry of Sports that are directly responsible for providing oversight over the rehabilitation project. He also conferred with the leadership of the GANSU Construction Company, the Chinese enterprise responsible for the execution of the project, as well as with the Sierra Leonean workforce directly involved in the project.
Central to these conversations were the concerns raised by the Indigenous Workers’ Union, primarily focusing on safety of workers and the general working conditions. Gaps highlighted encompassed issues ranging from non-compliance with the national minimum wage to inadequate provision of medical facilities, shortages of personal protective equipment, and apprehensions regarding payment modalities.
In a direct address to the workforce, Minister Swaray underscored his responsibility to ensure both their safety and equitable compensation. He reaffirmed President Dr. Julius Maada Bio’s commitment to facilitating dignified employment opportunities for all citizens. Minister Swaray assured the workers that the Government hold their well-being in high regard, recognizing the populace as the nation’s most valuable asset.
The Minister pledged prompt resolution of the raised concerns through collaborative consultations with all pertinent stakeholders. He personally guaranteed his dedication to the welfare of the workforce, stating, “The President wants me to address your concerns as soon as possible. I want to assure you that we will care for your welfare.”
However, Minister Swaray also urged the workers to carry out their responsibilities conscientiously and highlighted the significance of punctuality. He emphasized that productivity and workers’ welfare were jointly vital for the project’s success.
He committed to frequent site visits to oversee progress of the project demonstrating his unwavering dedication to effectively addressing the issues highlighted by the Indigenous Workers’ Union.
The Minister’s visit and subsequent dialogues with stakeholders underscore the Government’s commitment to upholding labour rights and ensuring projects are executed within safe and equitable environments.
As the National Stadium Rehabilitation project advances, expectations are high that the concerns raised by the workforce will be swiftly and effectively resolved, nurturing a positive work atmosphere that prioritizes workers’ welfare and sustains elevated safety standards.