The New Dawn (Monrovia)

9 July 2014

Liberia: Nimba Protest Is War Mongering - United Workers Union

The United Workers Union of Liberia or UWUL has strongly condemned the violence, looting and destruction at Arcelor Mittal Liberia by aggrieved employees and community dwellers in Nimba County, terming the situation as "War Mongering."

"We firstly condemn the act in the strongest of term and declare it as uncivilized, baseless and selfish expression intended for looting and destruction purposely by war mongering individuals in Nimba County who feel Liberia should continue to live in violence over the rule of law and turn the hard earned peace that we enjoy today into chaotic situation," said UWUL Secretary General, David D. Sackoh.

According to him, the union is the representative organization in Arcelor Mittal and is greatly concerned of the rough side of the mountain being climbed by Arcelor Mittal in Liberia, adding that the violent attacks on the company's operations in recent times by the people of Nimba have the potential to threaten the security of the State.

He pointed out that the people of Zoluwee or Nimba County in general may have a legitimate demand, but their approach was very wrong. Sackoh continued that the action by the Nimbanians will not profit anybody or solve any matter, saying, violence is an old argument in Liberia and cannot be used to address new challenges.

He blamed the Government for inability of any company to perform to expectation of the people, stressing that Government knows politically very well who is impeding the company's performance and should therefore, be able to correct such pitfalls. The Government of Liberia says perpetrators of last week's violence at Arcelor Mittal Liberia would face the law.

"On the labour front, the union wants the nation to know that fathers, mothers, sons, sibling in Zoluwee and surrounding communities and Nimba County in general constitute over sixty percent of the workforce, whom the union represents.

He said the improvement of conditions and benefits are being done from time to time through good faith negotiation that cannot be exchanged for jungle justice, adding that the latest incident has a triggered down effect on the ongoing union management CBA negotiation, which tend to weaken the union's ability to press forward with demand for salary increase and other benefits from the management in favor of the workers.

"We call on the government to bring both the organizers and perpetrators to justice as soon as practical and ensure they face the full weight of the law," he concluded.

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