LIBERIA: China Union, Sime Darby In Crises, Workers Take Issue With Employers

(PHOTO CAPTION: Liberia's Labor Minister, Neto Zarzar Lighe)

Trouble seems to be brewing in tow of Liberia’s concessional areas, with workers staging series of strike actions crippling the smooth operations of those companies affected.

Employees of both China Union Investment, in Bong County and Sime Darby Plantation Company in Grand Cape Mount and Bomi Counties are said to be on strike demanding benefits from their respective employers.

At Sime Darby Plantation, workers have reportedly gone strike in demand of several benefits, including salaries increment for nearly a week now.

But the spokesman of the Company, David Kolleh speaking on a local radio talk show, denied the allegation leveled against the company by the workers, and said the company will not bow to pressure from the workers’ union to accept any action that is not in the interest of the company.

Workers including nurses in Bong County, Bomi Mines where China Union Investment, one of Liberia's largest investments in the extractive sector is operating have also gone on strike in demand of benefits including the sending of their children to the company’s school.

The employees said their demand to go on their endless strike actions will continue  until their demands are met, stressing, that they cannot be working with the company and their children stay out of the company’s schools.

The employees said they were being denied of their rights while in the employ of the company, and they will not relent to go to work until the company sees reason to allow their children in school.

Reacting to the stricken employees’ claims, the Public Relations of the company, Lester Cheepoo said the information released by the employees was untruth, noting, “The Company did not refuse to allow the employees’ children in school, but  has asked that each employee of the company is allow send in only five of their children to the company’s school.”

The stricken workers say they will continue their action until the management of China Union sees reason to accept their demands.

Speaking to the GNN via mobile phone today, Liberia's Labor Minister, Neto Zarzar Lighe said his ministry is aware of what is happening at China Union, and promised his ministry's commitment to resolve the conflict between employees and the management of China Union Investment.

A team of GNN is expected to depart Monrovia for those affected areas (Sime Darby and China Union operating areas) to ascertain the facts surrounding the cause of the workers’ strike action in those areas


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