The NEWS (Monrovia)

18 February 2013

Liberia: Probe Claims of Bad Labor Practice

Maryland County Senator John Ballout has called on members of the Liberian senate to investigate allegation of bad labor practice at SIFCA which resulted into protest at the plantation recently.

In A Communication addressed to his colleagues, Senator Ballout said there is a need to investigate the long standing problems at the plantation between citizens on one hand, SIFCA and the Cavalla Rubber Corporation and the Maryland Oil Palm Plantation on the other.

The Maryland County Legislator informed the senate that the plight of over 100 farmers whose farms were destroyed by the Maryland Oil Palm Plantation and Cavalla Rubber Corporation has not been addressed by the Liberian government. The senator indicated that the people of Pleebo Sodoken District have complained and the government has apparently ignored their concerns regarding land issues, bad labor practice and employment opportunities.

Senator Ballout Is the direct representative of the Maryland people, therefore, the concerns raised by the people relating to bad labor practices and other violations allegedly by SIFCA and other groups should urgently be investigated by the Senate.

At The Same time, youth in Pleebo Sodken District alleged that the companies are engaged in bad labour practices and other ills including the employment of foreigners at the detriment of citizens in the county. They accused the companies of engaging in "massive dismissal" of local employees and replacing them with foreigners" from neighboring Ivory Coast and Nigeria. Additionally, Representative Chambers has told his colleagues that the impact of the companies was not felt.

It Is Important that the issues raised by the youth are delved into urgently other than brushing it aside. Our people have the fundamental right to raise any issue that concerns their wellbeing within the confines of the law.

The fact that Senator Ballout and Chambers have respectively informed their colleagues about bad labor practices and other violations allegedly by SIFCA and other groups accentuates the genuineness of the workers' protest for which the Senate and the House should probe.

We Want The Legislature to get to the bottom of this claim of bad labor practice by the concession company in Maryland County. For more than two years the people of Pleebo Sodoken District have complained and even protested against bad labor practices and lack of employment opportunities, yet the relevant institutions of government continue to ignore the situation.

We Believe That issues regarding bad labor practices and employment opportunities are not only serious human rights issues, but also political issues that could ignite a bigger protest. We call on the government to look into the workers' concerns with the determination to finding a lasting solution to an already fragile situation.

We Government Must give attention to the people of Pleebo Sdoken District especially on claims of bad labor practice and other violations allegedly by SIFCA.

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