The Inquirer (Monrovia)

Liberia: 'We Do Not Extract Blood, but Urine'

The Putu Iron Ore Mining Inc. operating in the Southeastern county of Grand Gedeh has sharply reacted to claims by the company's workers Union that the company was extracting blood from its employees and sending same to South Africa to be used for ritualistic purposes.

Addressing a news conference Thursday, the company through its Senior Executive, J. Ronnie Addy and Mahdea George-Belleka, Human Resource Manager, said claims made by the Secretary General of the United Workers Union are false, misleading, diabolical, malicious and only intended to smear the good name of the company and its employees.

"This streak of unprovoked malevolence on the part of the Union not only testifies to its agenda of fomenting strife and unrest between employees and the company, but also seeks to destroy the good image the company and its staff have succeeded in building over the years," Mr. Addy pointed out.

The two executives of the company said at no time did the Management of Putu oppose the formation of the union but have rather demonstrated its support by holding several discussions with its executives from the inception of the idea to the induction of PIOM Union Leadership into office; transporting PUWUL officials to and from site for the Representation and Leadership elections; providing the venue for other elections as well as any other administrative and logistical support required to ensure the success of the entire process of unionization.

Reacting to the issue of blood extraction, Mr. Addy denied that at no time has the company extracted blood from any of its employees for ritualistic purposes; that the allegation that two of the company's senior employees, Mrs. Mahdea Belleka, Human Resource Manager and Mr. Tarley Dweh, Government Relations Manager, had masterminded the arrest and detention of three union members is also untrue.

According to him, the arrest and detention of union members was carried out by the office of the county Superintendent, Peter Solo, predicated upon an anonymous letter which was circulated on the Putu Mountain.

"The letter threaten d to burn down equipment and other assets of the company within 72 hours if the Human Resource Manager was not dismissed. Realizing that this terroristic threat could result to chaos and unrest, the authorities were forced to act in the manner in which they did. It must be stated here that no staff of PIOM was involved in the arrest," Madam George-Belleka intimated.

She then described claimed by the workers Union through its Secretary General, David Sackor as false, misleading, diabolical, malicious and only intended to smear the good r name of the company and its employees.

At the same time the Management of Putu has clarified that since the 1990s, studies conduct in the United States by the Department of Labor have shown that substance abuse is not only prevalent in the workplace, but that it is extremely costly to employers.

Madam Belleka said Sixty-five percent of all accidents on the job are related to drugs or alcohol; employees who abuse substances cause 40 percent of on the job injuries. She said the testing that the company conducts are conducted with the consent of employees and urine samples, not blood, are used.

"Drug testing after serious on-the job accidents is also permitted if an employer has valid reason to believe employees responsible for the accident were under the influence and there is a link between the two," Belleka added.

She among other things pointed out that PICM has a clearly documented drug and alcohol testing procedure which has been discussed with its workforce adding that these tests cover all employees and do not segregate.

Recently the United Workers Union of Putu through its SG, Sackor alleged that Putu Iron ore Mining Company was against the formation of a workers union at its site in Putu Grand Gedeh County and was doing all within its power to discourage same.

He further alleged that the company was extracting blood from its employees and sending same to South Africa to be used for ritualistic purposes. He also alleged that two of the company's senior employees namely, Mrs. Mahdea Belleka, Human Resource Manager and Mr. Tarley Dweh, Government Relations Manager, had masterminded the arrest and detention of three union members acclaims which the Management of Putu had vehemently denied.

Ads by Google

Copyright © 2013 The Inquirer. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.