MONROVIA, Montserrado – The management of Farmington Hotel is expected to appear before the House of Representatives on Thursday to respond to allegations of bad labor practices.
Members of the House voted on Tuesday to invite the hotel management following receipt of a complaint from Margibi’s second district representative, Ivar Jones.
According to a release from the House of Representatives, Jones communicated to his colleagues that the management was engaging in bad labor practices against Liberian employees at the hotel. He also accused the hotel’s chief of security of obstructing his legislative functions by ordering him to leave the hotel’s premises while he was listening to explanations from aggrieved workers.
“Honorable Speaker, while the aggrieved workers were explaining their grievances, the chief of security of the hotel, Alvin Tarpeh, entered the discussion and asked me out,” the release quoted Jones.
The release further explained that Jones pleaded with his colleagues to conduct a full-scale investigation into the allegations of bad labor practices, as a discharge of their oversight responsibility.
Jones also told The Bush Chicken that evidence in his possession indicates that the allegations against the hotel management are true.
According to him, the management includes a clause in staff contracts that bans them from forming a worker’s association and speaking to the press on working conditions there. He said security and safety of Liberians working at the hotel was also poor, as management has refused to provide transportation for staff leaving work at night.
“These provisions alone violate the constitutional rights of the workers,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Margibi lawmaker hopes that conditions at the hotel would be improved following the appearance of the hotel’s representatives.
A group of workers at the Farmington Hotel had complained about the labor practices of the hotel during a three-day orientation organized for members of the House of Representatives by the National Democratic Institute at the hotel.
According to a previous Bush Chicken report, the workers were at the verge of staging a protest when they heard that the lawmakers would undergo a three-day orientation at the hotel. They, however, abandoned their protest when some lawmakers intervened and offered to listen to their complaints about the management of the Farmington Hotel.
The workers complained of consistent molestation, intimidation, and abuse by senior staff, especially the immigrant workers, while on duty. They also alleged that the hotel management failed to live up to the contract signed and when staff members brought up the issue, they were either suspended or had their contracts terminated.
Other accusations are the failure of the management to pay them double for working on holidays, as stipulated in their contracts.
Farmington Hotel is a US$20 million investment located by the Farmington River, opposite the Roberts International Airport.
It is owned by the Liberia-based AJA Group and its partners and is being operated by CambellGray Hotels, a renowned high-end hotel group from the U.K., which operates iconic properties including the Phoenicia in Malta and Le Gray in Beirut.
Supposedly the largest in the country, the Farmington Hotel hosts 164 rooms and suites, including three presidential suites of 300-meter square each.
Featured photo by Gbatemah Senah
“Editor’s note: A previous version of this article noted that CampbellGray Hotels operates One Aldwych in London. One Aldwych is independent and privately owned. While Gordon Campbell Gray was once managing director of One Aldwych, he stepped down in 2010.”