25 February 2013

Liberia: Sime Darby Plantation Liberia Management, Union Workers Reach Agreement

On February 14, 2013, the Management of Sime Darby Plantation Liberia (SDPL) and Workers Union representatives amicably arrived at an agreement on various matters that had been raised, putting an end to a two-day long "Go Slow Action" organized by members of General Agriculture and Allied Workers' Union of Liberia (GAAWUL).

Workers' concerns were discussed at a round-table meeting witnessed by the representatives of the Ministry of Labour, including Honorable Sieh G. Thomas, Labour Commissioner, Bomi County.

The "Go Slow Action" was largely peaceful and there were no untoward incidents. However, as a result of disruptions to operations, the "Go Slow Action" did cause some losses to both the company and its employees. The Company believes that by following Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and specifically Article #XLIII of the Grievance Procedure therein, such loss could have been prevented. SDPL has clear standard operating procedures on resolving workers' grievances and would encourage its workers to use this internal mechanism before embarking on similar disruptive actions.

SDPL complies with statutory labour regulations and the Concession Agreement signed with the Government of Liberia. The company treats its workers and communities as key partners in its long-term investment in the Liberian economy. It is a matter of record that responsible investments into fledgling economies can assist in poverty alleviation efforts, especially in rural areas. It is worth noting that SDPL currently employs over 3,700 workers, four times more than what is required.

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