LIBERIA: Amid Water Pollution Allegation, BEA Mountain Employees Gets New Mother Union

Labour Minister, Cllr. Charles Gibson

Amid series of allegation leveled against Bea Mountain Mining Corporation (BMMC) of pollution rivers in western Liberia, specifically in Grand Cape Mount County with local advocacy group demanding independent probe in the mater, Workers of BEA Mountain Mining Corporation in Grand Cape Mount County have voted to usher in a new Bargaining Agent or Mother Union to represent their interest and negotiate with Management on their behave.

About five hundred and eight employees of the majority workforce voted the “National Union of Hospitality Aviation Communication and Energy Workers” (NUHAC) as their new Mother Union for the BEA Mountain Workers Union replacing United Workers Union of Liberia (UWUL).

The United Workers Union of Liberia has for last five years provided representations for employed workers and contractors as Mother Union of workers.

The employees accused their previous Mother Union, the United Workers Union of poor representation by reneging on their responsibility to adequately advocate for the protection of the rights and interest of the employees as a result there were many ill-treatment and denial of some basic benefits that was agreed and signed in the CBA to guide both employees and management such as, wrongful dismissal of their colleagues without redress.

They accused the UWUL of presiding over a Collective Bargaining Agreement that does not provide coverage for all workers in the employed of BEA Mountain.

According to the Chairman of the Workplace Union, Mr. Samuel G. Roberts, some of the benefits that should be provided to workers are only provided to few employees such as, school fees, medical insurance, rice supply and housing facility are not given to all employees.

The BEA Mountain Workers Chairman said that the Collective Bargaining Agreement signed was meant to cover all employees working within the employ of BEA Mountain, but the BEA Mountain management has refused to commit herself to the agreement; something which their previous Mother Union and Bargain Agent, United Workers Union of Liberia (UWUL) had failed to handle with the management and remedy the situation.

The Action of the Workers of BEA Mountain to disassociate from UWUL is in line with Chapter 37.1M of the Decent Work Act of 2015, or the Labour Law. Which provide employees the rights to associate and disassociate from a Mother Union that will not adequately and properly represent their interest in the workplace but allow to choose any Union through election and referendum, that they have explicit trust to serve as their mother union to properly represent them by engaging BEA Mountain Management on their behalf.

The empowers the Ministry of Labour through the Division of Trade Union Affairs and Social Dialogue to conduct workplace Election and Referendum as means of ensuring that the workers choose a union of their choice to present them as bargain agent.

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