Calm has finally returned to Sime Darby Plantation Liberia (SDPL) following series of consultations and interventions made by stakeholders as a result of a go slow action.
Workers of the company protested recently following the death of one of their colleagues identified as Kollie, on the plantation.
But during one of the many meetings held Monday, April 2, 2018, in Klay Bomi County, the General Agriculture Workers Union of Liberia (GAAWUL), civil society and the Government of Liberia through the Liberia National Police (LNP) all agreed that normal activities at the plantation should resume.
Speaking during the meeting, the workers through the Secretary General of GAAWUL, Alfred Summerville, agreed to go back to worker, but with several demands.
Paramount among the demands, Summerville named the payment of employees for the days they boycotted work, saying it is the company’s faults; the speedy investigation into the death of the late Kollie, among others.
“Sime Darby must be able to pay the workers for the seven days they stayed out of work because it was their own negligence and it should not be counted against them,” Summerville demands.
He says that there are several issues that need to be addressed by the company, adding that the boycott by the workers is not a strike but solidarity for their fallen colleagues.
“There are so many issues that need to be addressed by this company and we are taking them step-by-step for now; the police is investigating the criminal part after which we will be coming with the labor part. Let me tell you people that what the workers are on is not a strike, but solidarity with one of their members,” Summerville adds.
Responding to the workers’ request, Sime Darby legal head, Atty. Ebenezer Gibson, notes that the company cannot uprightly promise the workers of paying them for the days they missed on the job, but promises that it would be looked into and properly addressed.
“It will require some time and proper negotiations for the company to meet up with all of your demands through a setup committee, it cannot happen instantly, and you know and I know,” Atty. Gibson explains.
Also, the General Manager of the company, David Parker, assures residents of the areas that their plights would be looked into beginning Tuesday, April 3, 2018 so as to peacefully resolve the matter.
However, the Liberia National Police has vowed to make full report into the death of the late Kollie on Saturday, April 7, 2018.
Speaking during the meeting, the head of the Criminal Investigation Department of the LNP, Emmanuel Doe Jlikan says the report is almost concluded and that final copy would be made publicly by the weekend.
“The report is not yet concluded and we do not want to give you incomplete report. The police along with the Ministry of Justice are going to be here to finalize the report,” he assures the citizens. Editing by Jonathan Browne