Attempt by the General Agriculture and Allied Workers Union of Liberia (GAAWUL) to form a merger with Lib-Inc. Agriculture Workers Union of Liberia (LAWUL) is said to be running into trouble, as the management of Equatorial Palm Oil cites a series of constitutional and procedural errors.
The management of Equatorial Palm Oil, which is operating Lib-Inc. Palm Plantation in Grand Bassa County, says while it welcomes the merger, it must be in conformity with the by-laws and constitution of LAWUL. The constitutional of Lib-Inc.
Agricultural Workers Union, section 24.2.5, states that a secret ballot shall be taken by the entire membership to determine whether the union should affiliate with any industrial organization, under the watchful eyes of representatives from the Ministry of Labor. A source within the organization told this paper that a secret ballot held last year showed a resounding defeat for GAAWUL's merger plan, which means that LAWUL should not continue with a plan to affiliate with GAAWUL.
The source continues that the leadership of LAWUL has failed to meet its obligation detailed in the recognition and procedural agreement (RPA) for a relationship between management and workers. The RPA mandates the leadership to seek the approval of the executive committee before taking any action, register as a legal entity, and conduct a campaign to encourage union financial membership, among others, but none of the procedures has been followed by the LAWUL leadership.
The Chronicle investigation reveals that the leadership, in complete violation of the RPA, secretly signed a memorandum of understanding with the United Steel Workers Union (USIRWUL) to form a merger even before it was elected into office. After the planned affiliation was rejected by the Ministry of Labor, it decided to shift to GAAWUL, allegedly after being promised a huge sum of money by the national union.