Labour Ministry Breaks Major Agreement Between LAC Management & Workers

The Ministry of Labour has brokered a major agreement between the Management of the Liberia Agricultural Company (LAC), and employees represented by the General Agricultural Allied Workers Union of Liberia (GAAWUL), adverting imminent industrial unrest at the plantation.

A Labour Ministry Press release issued in Monrovia on Monday, April 1, 2024 disclosed that the day-long social dialogue between the LAC Management and Workers union Chaired by Labour Minister, Cllr. Cooper W. Kruah narrowly averted a major strike action at the country’s second largest rubber plantation, next only to Firestone, over several contentious demands by the workers, not covered in their current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

According to the release, among other decisions reached at the conference included Management’s commitment to commence gradual rehabilitation of housing units for plantation workers, expansion of several structures and construction of several more.

The Labour Ministry release further revealed that LAC Management and the leadership of the workers pledged to continue ongoing discussions on the educational, health and insurance status of dependents of the employees who have elapsed their stage of benefits, under the current (CBA).

The release noted that LAC Management also assured the workers of providing them replacement of depleted or damaged safety gears, including rain booths with guarantee to have reserved supplies for future shortages.

Addressing officials of the two Tripartite Constituents at the conference held at the Labour Ministry, Minister Kruah called on LAC Management to ensure the elevation of qualified Liberians for senior managerial positions.

Minister Kruah also recommended to management to provide electricity to housing estates for the safety of the employees and their dependents; an appeal accepted by the LAC General Manager.

The Minister, however, decried the lack of a Liberian plantation Manager at the company over the years, calling on LAC Management to consider elevating a qualified Liberian to such position and change the narrative.

In response, LAC General Manager, Mr. Naveen Madan commended Minister Kruah for his timely intervention in mitigating a potential labour stand-off at the plantation, and promised to live up to all counts agreed to at the conference.

The LAC Boss further accepted Minister Kruah plead for Liberians ascend to plantation managers, saying commencing next year, LAC will have a full-fledged Liberian Planation Manager as to intensive training is underway by Management to achieve this goal.

He then implored the Labour Minister to intervene with the Ministry of Education in ensuring a gradual takeover of some schools currently being run by LAC School System with a staggering population of over 8, 000 students, due to economic constraints.

The Minister acknowledged the request and promised to consider it in the interest of Liberia’s future labour sector.

For his part, the Vice President for administration of the General Agricultural and Allied Workers Union of Liberia (GAAWUL), representing employees of LAC, Mr. Prosperous Paynah, lauded the Labour Minister for his swift intervention and pledged his organization’s fullest support to remain committed to the implementation of the agreement.

The Social Dialogue conference was attended by the Deputy Labour Minister Hon. Steven Korlubah, and Assistant Minister for Manpower Planning, Hon. Emmanuel Barnes, as well as Director for Trade Union affairs, Mr. Dominic Wreh, while LAC Human Resource Manager, Mr. Eric Mulbah, along with other senior staff were in attendance.

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