The leadership of the General Agriculture and Allied Workers’ Union of Liberia or GAAWUL notes with serious concern the unfortunate event that occurred recently at the Liberia Agriculture Company or LAC in Grand Bassa County, leading to the death of several workers and with many injuries.
In a press release issued in Monrovia, GAAWUL says the response of LAC Management to the industrial disaster has caused the workers to lay down tools.
They have accordingly, submitted to management as precondition to returning to work, among others that management failed to provide health and safety education for them, and did not respond adequately after the explosion that led to the death of several workers and injuries of many others.
The release issued under the signatures of GAAWUL Secretary General Alfred Z.B. Summerville, and Vice President for Administration, James T. Greave, workers described the LAC incident as very serious, which resulted to many injuries, noting that on the whole, the management was negligent in handling issues of safety and health on the plantation, which has exacerbated the situation. They called for full investigation into the explosion to establish its cause.
GAAWUL says as a result of these and other issues, the LAC employees are demanding the replacement of the General Manager and his Deputies before they return to work.
The Union expressed regret for the unfortunate incident and says it shares the views of the workers that a more decisive action by Management in handling the issues raised in their position statement could have produced a more positive result. “We wish to extend condolences to the bereaved families and the wounded”, it added.
The Union also called on the workers to exercise restraint as it consults with the Government of Liberia and the LAC Management in finding an amicable and peaceful solution to the problem, saying, “Our desire in this connection is to resolve the current crisis and prevent similar situation in the future.”
It has meanwhile called on the workers to return to work while the issues are placed on the table for negotiation. “Our history and tradition as workers organization is to appeal to reason through negotiation in the content of the tripartite network as mechanism for progress. We equally call upon our social partners, the Government and the Management to join us in the search for a common ground so that this unfortunate event can be brought to a permanent end”, the GAAWUL’s release concluded.