4 February 2016

Liberia: SRC Cuts Workforce

Salala Rubber Corporation (SRC) in Gibi District, Upper Margibi County, has from this month to June 30, 2016 embarked on a campaign to downsize its workforce in the wake of the decline in the price of rubber. The decision is expected to also affect some management staff.

SRC Administrative and Human Resource Manager, Jallah G. Mensahn, made the disclosure yesterday when he spoke in an exclusive interview with Liberia News Agency Margibi correspondent, Richard Baysah, in Weala, central Margibi County.

Mr. Mensahn attributed the decision to what he termed as "the world economic meltdown," which he said, has resulted into the drastic decline in the price of natural rubber on the world market.

The price of rubber, which until yesterday was US$445 per ton, has dropped to US$435.

He did not say how many employees would be affected, though the process took effect as of February 1.

At present, SRC has a workforce of about 720 employees, with about 2,000 contractors.

Mr. Mehsahn said the management considered the decision in 2013, but was reluctant in the hope that the price of rubber would increase, but that hope was to the contrary.

He said the global economic meltdown, which started in 2013, has seriously affected the price of natural rubber to the extent that the industry is declining and the workers are no longer motivated to work.

"The situation," Mensahn said, "Is causing the management serious financial losses in operating the plantation. The situation is unsustainable now as our own operation is heavily subsidized by shareholders and in the long run a business like that would diminish."

He also mentioned that the decision by the management to cut jobs is a "survival strategy, either by letting everybody remain on board and shut down the company, or put some people down and lower our operations in anticipation of improvements in the near future."

He said the cuts will not be a "one time action," but rather to continue in batches through June 30, 2016, affecting all departments.

Mr. Mehsahn disclosed that some employees have started signing up for their pay-off salaries in the face of the pending job cuts.

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