The administration of Nimba County is grappling with the fate of more than 800 redundant employees of ArcelorMittal, who were downsized since 2015 by the company. The county administration gave the redundant employees two weeks, which expired Tuesday, 12 November to decide their fate after they met with Superintendent David Dorr Cooper and County Inspector Reginald Mehn.
The gathering of both parties at the Sanniquellie City Hall brought together huge numbers of redundant workers, including some senior staff of the mining company along with the county administration.The redundant workers are from across the country, including Bong, Grand Bassa and Nimba.The authorities of Nimba offered to intervene after the redundant employees threatened to erect roadblock on the rail used by the company to transport ore from Nimba to Grand Bassa in demand of answers to their fate.
According to them, the Management of ArcelorMittal dismissed them in 2015 without any good reason except to inform them about the low price of iron ore on the world market.
But the head for the redundant workers, Mr. Kingston Nyandibo said the explanation from management is not substantive enough for the action taken against them.
‘’We all agreed that the company will not work in peace until they tell us where we stand’’, Mr. Nyandibo maintained.The affected employees are categorized in three groups: redundant employees, contractors and illegal dismissal.
For more than a year, ArcelorMittal has been faced with serious financial challenges stemming from decline of ore price on the world market.‘’ To ensure the future viability of the operation, it was deemed necessary, among other things, to reduce our operational cost and restructure the organization by reducing our workforce by 450 jobs”, a document from the company quotes the management of ArcelorMittal as saying.
‘’ As a result of consultation, the number of operational and support positions to be affected by redundancy was reduced to 187 [167 nationals and 20 expatriates] “Regrettably, your position with the company is included in this figure. Your employment with ArcelorMittal Liberia will be terminated as of 5: 00 PM on January 8, 2016. This decision is not a reflection on your performance”, the management communication explains.
At the forum held in the Sanniquellie City Hall, management was represented by the head of local governmental affairs, Ambrose Gbormie; the head of human resource, Saah Johnson, and Vinery Keazulu, among others.By Thomas Domah/Nimba