Liberia: Labour Wants Workers' Welfare Considered - in CBA Talks Between Sime Darby Management, Workers Union

The Minister of Labour Vabah K. Gayflor said the welfare of workers as well as adherence to international conventions and national policy should be prime in pending Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) negotiation between the Sime Darby Liberia Management and Workers Union.

It is part of her plan of action for 2013 to work alongside local trade unions and concessionaires in adopting a workable and standard CBA procedure that would serve to curtail industrial disharmony, a Labour Ministry statement quoted her as making the statement Wednesday, February 20, 2013 when the new Management team of Sime Darby Liberia paid an acquaintance visit to the Ministry of Labour.

She called on Sime Darby Management to cultivate a cordial working relationship with their workforce and embark on social corporate responsibilities that would help dignify and humanize workers of the company, and even reminded the management that given the level of civic engagement and sensitization in all sectors of the Liberian society, things will never work the old ways; noting that workers will not take certain things anymore.

"You must therefore begin to improve your acts in dealing with your workers" she noted and also encouraged the management to provide training to their middle management staff on how to handle plantation workers and how to relate to workers through an effective and efficient communication system.

According to her, there can sometimes be flaw in the way and manner in which information filters down from top management to the ordinary workers and indicated that effective communication strategy can undermine any potential conflict in any work place.

Given the proximity of Sime Darby to Monrovia, Minister Gayflor proposed an arrangement of a quarterly meeting between management and the Ministry of Labour to address growing issues of concerns in the interest of industrial harmony as well as providing decent work atmospheres for both Liberian and foreign investors in the country.

She urged Sime Darby to become a success story whose good examples and lessons can be shared with other concessions in distant areas across the country.

As part of the partnership, the Labour Boss promised the management that the leadership of Sime Darby's Worker Union will benefit from the Ministry of Labour Planned workshop and seminar intended for trade union organizations.

She said since her take over as Minister of Labour, the Ministry has noticed the inconsistence and limitation of many trade unions and has designed series of training programs to help strengthen their capacity.

Earlier, the new Head Sime Darby Liberia, Mr. Roslin Azamy Hassan expressed serious concerns over the just ended two days' strike action at the plantation involving nearly 50% of the entire workforce and said this was his first major challenge within less than a month, since he took over from his predecessor.

He further informed the Minister that management has resolved the problem and forwarded copy of the resolution reached between the workers and management to the Ministry of Labour and that workers have returned to work.

Hence, he craved the Minister involvement with the pending Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) negotiations which is expected to start early March 2013 as workers' expectation from Management is too high and that some of the very demand are unrealistic.

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