Monrovia- We refer to an article published in your newspaper on 16 November 2017, regarding a press release from the Liberian Ministry of Labour asking Sime Darby Plantation Liberia (SDPL) regarding the planned redundancy exercise pending.
SDPL would like to confirm that it is currently rationalising its workforce and undergoing a redundancy exercise due to various economic challenges and to ensure the continuity of its business in Liberia. The exercise is currently being implemented in stages in full consultation with the affected workers, the workers union and the Ministry of Labour.
The Management of SDPL is in talks with the Ministry of Labour, community representatives and the affected employees. Every effort has been made to ensure that the process follows the laws and regulations of Liberia and this includes the Liberia Decent Work Act 2015 and Collective Bargaining Agreement.
In recent years, SDPL’s business has faced several constraints that has prevented the business from growing as planned. The main factors have been land issues and also the Ebola outbreak. However, regardless of these issues, SDPL has continued to employ workers greatly beyond its requirement for current operations. In order for the company to move forward, it needs to rationalise the current workforce. At the same time a new state of the art mill has recently been constructed in Bomi with new jobs and opportunities created as a result of this and other new developments.
SDPL is in Liberia for the long run and will work within the confines of best business practices to ensure its sustainable presence in the country. To-date, it has planted over 10,000 hectares of oil palm and more than 100 hectares of rubber. It provides the highest-paid jobs in the agricultural sector to around 2,800 Liberians. As part of its commitment to improving living conditions of the surrounding communities, SDPL has been providing free access to education, health services, water and sanitation and other community services to over 30,000 local residents.