Dozens of workers of the Sime Darby Plantation Liberia in western Liberia (Bomi and Cape Mount Counties) today, Monday, April 2, 2018 following the intervention stakeholders agreed to return to work on Tuesday, April 3, 2018, while they wait for the police investigation into the accident that led to the death of an employee.
The workers went on a 7-day nonviolent strike action following the death of their colleague Okine Kollie which led them to peacefully lay down their working materials in demand for a speedy investigation, and also refused to go to work in solidarity for their colleague.
At a well-attended mass meeting held on Monday in Klay, Bomi County with union workers, management and police, they earlier refused to return to work until they were paid for the seven days they were sitting at home.
Mr. Alfred Summerville, Secretary General for the General Agriculture and Workers Union (GAWU) said they needed assurance from management before he would instruct their workers to return to work. But after tense negotiations, they agreed to start work while the union and management look into their concerns.
“With what you have said, we will start work so that more days will not be added to the number of days. Based on this, I will tell my people to start work tomorrow (April 3, 2018),” he said.
“We will wait for the report from the police on the investigation. Also, since the minister of Justice and the Inspector General of police will be coming here on Saturday, it will be good for us to speak to them
The lawyer of the company, Cllr. Ebenezer Gibson said it was important for everyone to work in harmony for the betterment of the company and the country. He thanked the union and management as well as police for the level of understanding that all parties have brought to bed.
Workers of the plantation went a go slow strike last week following the death of their colleague. The police head for Traffic and Safety, John Saah said for the first time, they have invited a civilian to be part of their investigation team.
“As you know, you seconded the vice president for the union to be with us along all part of the investigation. So, they is clear. He is your eye witness. Do you trust him? “ he asked them.
The crowd answered in the affirmative.
Then he continued: “Since you have trust in him, will you accept the outcome of our investigation?” The workers answered: “yes. We will accept the result.”
“We have come here to tell you that, we will carry out an investigation into this case. The one that has to do with labor (talking about seven day payment, is not our business),” Commissioner Saah said.