(By: Tennyson Tee Torplue, Jr.\ 0777-34-59-59)
Over reporter who visited Bong Mines early this week, where China Union Investment Company is operating saw the over 400 employees still on their strike action in demand of several benefits from the Company.
Our reporter said the entire concession operation has been crippled due to the strike action by the employees, making the company to lose millions of United States Dollars.
Since the workforce of the Company lay down their working tools from the first of May, 2015, up to date the senior management of the company is still battling on how the issue can be resolved.
Speaking to our reporter, some the workers said they will not return to work until the issue of their salaries increment, and the education of their children and other are addressed, making specific reference of the ‘Unfair recruitment’ on the part of the Company.
The employees said their concerns have been drawn from the deliberate refusal on the part of the company abide by the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) signed between the workforce of the company and management.
The employees speaking on Article 15.1 to 4 of the CBA which talks about education & training of Liberian employees in Liberia and China, and Article 16.1 to 2 which also speaks of safety materials for both employees and those considered as casual workers.
Speaking on behalf of the employees, the President of the worker union,
Mr. Kessilee Sumo said, until their demands are addressed by management, they will not go to work, and said their action at this moment is necessary, noting further, “Even though it is creating economy setback for national government and the company, our plight must be listened to,” he told reporter.
The employees further said they are seriously disappointment and frustrated in the leadership of the UP led Government, and their District Representative, Korpu G. Barclay, and Bong County Senator Jewel Howard Taylor for their failure to address their plight.
According to them, the China Union officials always told them that the Liberian Government, and therefore, the Government cannot do them anything.”
Speaking on behalf of the Company, a representative of China Union, Cloud Gao through an interpreter, said Section 35.1 of the CBA do not give them the right to speak on matters of CBA to the press.
He said they are also living in fear as their lives have been threatened by unknown persons who always called them via mobile phone..
Mr. Gao also said their power plant which usually provide electricity was forcibly shot down by angry workers.
On the issues of the community development program, he accused both local leaders, and central government for their failure to provide better incentives for the people after receiving from the company US$21 million intended for social development program, and over US$18 million for the Kakata/ Bong Mines road project, and additional US$3 million to the national Government for development annually.