Breaking: Angry RIA Workers Hold Foreign Flight Hostage

Several aggrieved workers at the Roberts International Airport (RIA) on Thursday, December 30, 2021 held a departing foreign flight hostage as part of their protest action against a possible redundancy scheme by management.

The aggrieved workers numbering around 200 persons assembled on the runway of the RIA to draw public attention and in the process, they complained of being brutalized by state security guards trying to resist their action.

One of the aggrieved workers, Cyrus Yeanay, complained that a fellow identified as George Logan tore up a jacket belonging to one of the protesters.

According to them, their action was prompted by plan by the RIA management to transfer them to a private company known as National Air Service (NAS) without addressing their huge unpaid wages.

They went on to express fear that transferring them to the private through outsourcing was a clever attempt to terminate their services with the RIA.

“We will not sit in our own country and be treated like foreigners. We want our salaries and benefits because we have families to feed and so we won’t leave the runway until authorities can step,” the aggrieved workers stated.

In the process, the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Nathaniel McGill arrived on the scene and with his arrival, the flight was allowed to depart Liberia.

Based on Minister McGill’s presence, the aggrieved workers were hurriedly assembled for a meeting at which time the Acting RIA Managing Director, Martin Hayes and other senior management officials were present.

“For the past two months, there have been rumors that the management was about to outsource our department. A meeting was held on November 16, 2021 with Flight Operation, Passengers Services and Ground Equipment or Maintenance. We were informed of the outsourcing as of January 1, 2022 and we were to be sent to NAS,” explained Hinneh Dorbor, spokesman of the aggrieved workers in the presence of Minister McGill.

“We were told to perform well at the NAS training or else those who fail will not be accepted back at the RIA. We are all employees and not mere contractors. We want to know whether it is right under the labor laws to just push us away while management owes us many months in salaries and benefits,” Dorbor stated on behalf of his colleagues.

Having being informed by the human resource department to fill documents to second them to NAS, Hinneh said they proceeded to the workers union to raise alarm about the situation.                    

“What becomes of those who will lose their jobs if NAS rejects them? We want the right thing to be done. We have made sacrifices in the absence of equipment and our technical knowhow has helped this airport greatly, especially during the Ebola and Coronavirus outbreak. We are all doing this for the love of our country and the President,” the spokesman further stated.

“With all these sacrifices we have been making, they call bunch of educated people. Tomorrow, it may be security and fire service departments. Image during our protest, some of the security beat our men,” Dorbor said.   

Upon hearing from the spokesman of the aggrieved workers, Minister McGill accepted their complaints as being legitimate but he frowned on their action of preventing an international flight from leaving the country.

“You know the aircraft rules and so accept the fact that you were holding the flight hostage. What you did was very wrong. This problem is going to be handled but if anyone thinks he was right, I am going to punish them,” Minister McGill declared.

“They (RIA management) cannot just throw you out. It is your right to protest to call public attention but when I called you, you said, you were not coming,” McGill indicated to the workers.

However, he told the workers to remain calm as they have a case that can be handled through dialogue involving all parties to get a clear understanding of the whole process of the NAS takeover.

McGill ordered the aggrieved workers to set up a special committee that will be involved in addressing all of the concerns being raised.

“This must not be intended to put people out of job but we can’t allow this behavior of holding a foreign plane hostage. We want to see NAS plan,” McGill said.

Minister McGill mentioned that NAS is not taking over for now as all of its activities are suspended until all the issues are fully addressed.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.