By Lincoln G. Peters
The Workers Union of Bea Mountain Mining Company in Grand Cape Mount County, Western Liberia, has expressed serious displeasure over the Legislature’s reported failure to release findings of its intervention in a conflict between workers and the company.
In an interview over the weekend, the company workers said two months ago, lawmakers visited the company site to verify allegations of salary disparity, bad labor practices, unsafe working environment, inhumane treatment and wrongful dismissal of Liberian staff by the management.
But they have lamented that the lawmakers are yet to report to the country their findings.
“We don’t know what is preventing our lawmakers from coming back to us and the company with their findings,” the workers said.
“They promised to get back to us in the shortest possible time. We are still hoping on them. The Ministry of Labor has failed us, therefore, they are our last hope.”
Since September this year, the workers said the lawmakers were taken around the company site to see everything, and they did all their findings.
But the aggrieved workers noted that they do not know what the delay is all about.
According to them, there are lots of violations on the mining site and disadvantages against Liberians.
Based on the conditions at the site, the workers said the legislature decided to probe the matter, but it is yet to report its findings.
“Our concern was about salary disparity and the lawmakers requested the company to provide the payroll for both local (Liberian) and the expert (foreigner) so it can be proven.”
“We also told them about the daily hire as stated in the Decent Work Act Chapter 13.2 (a) because it’s the company that is choosing for daily hairier.”
The workers said they did all that so they can call the Labor Ministry to book to see how those things can be worked out.
“They are yet to report to us,’’ they noted.
They explained that the Mineral Development Agreement (MDA) is very clear in Article 11.5 (b) which says that once you are employed, the management should provide you with housing units.
But they claimed that this is not done, and people are paying their rent in homes in the village.
They group accused the company of not making investment in education since 2016.
They claimed that only two persons were given four years scholarship, adding that they want the company to do more because they need education.
The workers union president Mr. Sam Roberts accused the management of paying Turkey nationals US$2,800, while Liberians are paid US$300 and US$200 for the same work.
Mr. Roberts alleged that workers of the company are only given booths without safety protective gear to work with.
“We can eat in the open, while on job. The foreigners have a cafeteria that they eat in while we eat in containers on site. We are badly treated, and we have no voice,” said Mr. Roberts.