Reports reaching this paper from the Sime Darby Plantation Liberia (SDPL) say the company has downsized over six hundred contract workers at its operation in Grand Cape Mount County.
In a statement issued over the weekend, the Malaysian company said it took the action because it was operating beyond capacity, adding that it will only re-employ once it has access to land.
“Sime Darby Plantation Liberia (SDPL) has decided not to renew the contracts of 652 temporary contract workers. The contracts will have been fulfilled on March 31 and all those affected were informed one month in advance,” the press release said.
Following the announcement several community dwellers and residents as well as contract workers expressed anger. But at the same time, they shared the company’s problems.
Some of them told reporters over the weekend that it was sad to hear such news, but have placed such action mainly on some Non -governmental Organizations; mainly Green Advocate, Sustainable Development Initiative (SDI).
“We will blame this whole thing on the work of these NGOS. They will come and tell us to do this, that and so, but at the end, we will suffer it, One resident in Gba Town, Samuel Kanneh said.
He said, “we want the NGOs at times to come and guide us, but if they press the company too much, the company will be compelled to act,” he added. Another one, Alex Balo, Chairman for the Coalition of Grand Cape mount Civil Society, said, it was unfortunate.
“Not all the company is doing we support, but you must also understand that they are here to do business. Once you tell them meet up with these conditions, and see that it is done, and then you can move to the next stage. But our brother Brownell does not look at it from this line,” he said.
But the company said, it would re-employ the contractors once they expand in the future.
“As the operations expand in the future, so will the company’s workforce, and the number of temporary and full-time workers will rise. When fully operational, SDPL will have created approximately 35,000 jobs,” the press release said.
It added, “SDPL is committed to the balanced development of the economy and the people of Liberia. It strives to maintain an equitable balance between increasing value for shareholders and being responsible to society and environment.”