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Cocopa Workers erect roadblock

By Thomas Domah, Nimba County

Aggrieved employees erect roadblock at Cocopa Plantations, for unpaid salaries and incentives, destroying a government ambulance.  

Nimba, Liberia, April 11, 2024—Over two hundred protesting workers of Cocopa Rubber Plantations, now Nimba Rubber Incorporated (NRI), erect a blockage along the Ganta—Saclepea Highway in electoral district#8, Nimba County, demanding salaries.

According to the employees, management is indebted to them for one year and seven months.

The protest is being supported by students on the plantations alongside with their parents.

The protesting employees lament that for the past five to six months, management has failed to supply them with rice, rental, and healthcare, among other incentives.

A. Morris Howard, head of the aggressive workers, vows they will not remove the blockage until management addresses their demands.

He narrates that various plantation departments are also supporting the ongoing protest because of the ill-treatments they continue to suffer at the hands of management.

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Another aggrieved employee, Marcus Nuah Barleah, reveals that teachers of the plantation school have laid down chalks in demand of salaries as well.

Students joined the protest mainly in solidarity with their instructors, who have refused to attend classes.

A protesting student discloses that teachers have been out of class for the past four months.

“We, the students, along with our parents, have joined the protest on the grounds that our children have not been in school and the supply of rice and medication alongside with rent has stopped, thereby creating problems for the rest of the family members,” he adds.

The NEW DAWN was unable to get the Management of Nimba Rubber Incorporated for comment due to the tense atmosphere along the route to the plantation.

Marshall Teewah and Alex Moore explain that the Management of Nimba Rubber Incorporated (NRI) has continuously fooled the company’s workers since 2020.

The industrial action has brought normal plantation activities to a standstill and destroyed the only government ambulance at the Jackson Fiah Doe Memorial Hospital in Tappital.

The ambulance was rushing to get oxygen from another health facility in Bong County when it came under attack from angry protesters.

Wednesday, April 10th 2024 protest brings to five number of such actions aggrieved employees.

Meanwhile, the Commander of the Ganta Police detachment in Ganta City, Archie Dennis, and the Nimba County Commander of the Liberia National Police, Lamie Mendin, have engaged the protesters and urged them to abandon the protest and have a roundtable with them to derive an amicable solution.

Protests by aggrieved employees are common in concessionaires across the country largely due to unaddressed grievances, sometimes resulting in violence and deaths, as was witnessed recently at Bea Mountains in Grand Cape Mount County, western Liberia, when Police fired live weapons to disperse protesters. Editing by Jonathan Browne

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