Protesting redundant workers of Arcelormital-Liberia have agreed to cut off their actions against the company, a release issued by the Ministry of Internal Affairs says.According to authorities at the ministry, the decision was reached following the intervention of Internal Affairs Minister Honorable Varney A. Sirleaf Thursday in Ganta, Nimba County.
The release said the meeting called by Minister Sirleaf was attended by the leadership of the protesters, the management of Arcelormital, Nimba County Superintendent Honorable Dorr Cooper and others. Early Thursday, November 14th, protesters in Grand Bassa and Nimba Counties setup roadblocks on the train track which is used by the company to transport iron ore from the mountains in Nimba to the port of Buchanan in demand of their benefits or reinstatement into workforce.
Mr. Kingston Nyandibo, head of the redundant Arcelormital employees in a meeting said they and some of their family members embarked on the protest because all efforts aimed addressing their plights have proven fruitless.Mr. Nyandibo told the Minister that those affected include seven hundred sixty-nine (769) workers, categorized in three groups namely: 363 employees, 366 contractors and 40 others who are considered illegally dismissed.
According to the protesters’ leadership, their redundancy was effected in 2015 and 2016 due to drops in pieces of iron ore on the international market, with an understanding that the company would recall them if prices rise.”Instead, when prices improve beginning 2017, the company chose to hire a new batch of workers which was in total disregard to the redundancy clause”. Said Mr. Joseph G. Kaye, spokesperson of the protesters.Mr. Kaye said they have been pursuing the matter with the company since May, 2018.
Meanwhile, Mr. Marcus S. Wleh, Head of Government Relations of Arcelormital appealed to the protesters to grant a two-week period for the company to sort out the relevant documentations that will lead to finding permanent solution to the problem.Honorable Sirleaf assured that he will work with the relevant government entities including Ministry of Labor and National Bureau of Concessions.
Based on the Minister’s intervention, MrNyandibo promised to immediately communicate with his colleagues as well as travel along the train track informing his colleagues to remain calm and abort all protests, the release concluded.