ETU Workers Protest over Benefits

first_imgWorkers of almost all of Liberia’s Ebola Treatment Units (ETUs) have staged a major protest in Monrovia, demanding benefits owed them by the Government of Liberia.The workers, predominantly healthcare practitioners, gathered at the seat of the Liberian legislature early Thursday morning to inform lawmakers about their over four month’s unpaid benefits. According to their spokesperson, Alphonso Wieh, remuneration owed the workers include hazard benefits in the amount of US$5,000 each, as well as three months’ salary arrears.The protesting ETU workers included body baggers, maintenance workers and some members of the burial team from several ETUs run by the Liberian government and its partners in Monrovia.Some of them shouted, “During the heat of the Ebola, we took risk by bagging thirty to thirty-five bodies a day. Now that we survived the danger, why can’t we get our hazard benefits?”“We will continue to stage protests to call public attention until our government can address our plight. We worked along with other international colleagues in these various ETUs and all of them have (been paid) risks and other benefits.  What is wrong with ours that we can’t get payments and benefits,” Wieh said.Government has since termed the protest as a “surprise.” Responding to questions about the protest, Deputy Information Minister for Technical Services Robert Kpadeh said: “We find this as news to us and we will verify that information and properly address it. However, government remains committed to ensuring that workers at all levels are paid what is due them, regardless of status.”Meanwhile, the protest continued into some parts of Monrovia for hours, stalling normal vehicle and human traffic.Liberia is among three West African nations hardest hit by the Ebola virus.  At one point, Liberia was the epi-center of the disease, losing nearly 5000 lives.  However, significant progress has been made by government, partners and the citizens in eradicating the virus from Liberia while affected Guinea and Sierra Leone are still struggling to contain the outbreak.Liberia has gone a little over 21 days without a new case and health experts believe with this path, the nation is gradually moving towards the 42-day mark stipulated by the World Health Organization (WHO) to be declared Ebola free.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Cynical leaders

first_imgIt’s now official: Members of the Los Angeles City Council believe that L.A. residents are idiots. They’ve put it in writing. Of course, the Declaration of the Idiocy of All Angelenos isn’t quite that blunt. It’s actually concealed in a earnest-sounding motion that would postpone water and electricity hikes for at least 60 days. But the meaning is still as plain as day. Back in October, Department of Water and Power commissioners reviewed a detailed plan to modernize the long-neglected utility system and approved a series of rate hikes that would wring $1 billion out of Los Angeles residents in the next 18 months alone. Under the plan, electric rates would jump 9 percent over three years and water rates would climb 6 percent over two years. Given that the DWP pays its employees exorbitant salaries, wastes a fortune on pointless initiatives and P.R., fails to maintain basic infrastructure, and serves as City Hall’s very own piggy bank, neighborhood councils were rightly outraged about the planned rate hikes. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPettersson scores another winner, Canucks beat KingsSo three members of the City Council – President Eric Garcetti and members Dennis Zine and Jan Perry – have responded to the public discontent with a stunning act of cynicism. They’re calling for a 60-day delay in the hikes so DWP plans to upgrade the system can be studied further. Note: They haven’t called for the hikes to be scrapped. Nor have they even tabled them indefinitely until and unless the DWP undergoes a long-overdue, top-to-bottom restructuring and demonstrates an actual need. Nope, all these council members have done is ask for the hikes to be postponed, so the DWP can “assure” the public of its good intentions. At the end of 60 days or so – at which point the council members blithely assume the DWP will have happily changed its ways, or at least feigned an intention to do so – the hikes would kick in. And why 60 days? Well, council members would tell you it’s because that’s the magic number for how long it takes to clean up a dysfunctional, massive bureaucracy that’s been corrupt for decades. They would also deny that that time span has anything to do with the fact that the delay would keep Angelenos from feeling the pinch of the new hikes until after the February election, at which voters will be asked to impose an expanded phone tax to make up the $270 million the city stands to lose when the current tax is struck down as illegal. If council members think Angelenos will buy that explanation, they must think we’re all idiots. Their duplicity couldn’t be more obvious. They want the rate hike – after all, transfers from the DWP’s surplus are key to keeping the bloated city budget afloat – but they also want the new phone tax. And they worry that if voters catch on to the DWP money grab too soon, they’ll be less likely to vote for the phone-tax money grab in February. So they want to “delay” ratepayers’ misery, only to better their chances of compounding it later on. They think Angelenos are idiots. And voters are going to have to disabuse them of that belief at the polls in February, or keep on getting played for suckers. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more