Following a drop of the price of rubber on the market over a year ago, the management of the Salala Rubber Corporation (SRC) has for the first time broken silence about the effect of the price of rubber on its operations in the country.
SRC is one of many multi-national companies contributing to Liberia’s economy and its sustainable development agenda for transformation.
With the reduction of a ton of raw rubber from its usual US$2,500 to less than US$600, Jallah Mensah, the company’s human resource and administrative manager, said they are now depending on their stakeholders’ financial contributions to keep the company functioning.
Besides, he added that the situation has affected their company’s earnings.
“The company for now is not making any profit, but we are still going ahead with our social responsibility such as construction of educational and health facilities as well as planting new trees and building new infrastructures,” the SRC human resource manager told journalists recently.
Mensah added that the company presently faced with numerous challenges of which the management is unable to finance her operations, because of the current drop of the price of rubber.
Explaining some of the company’s challenges, Mr. Mensah noted that the company stopped processing and exporting rubber since October 2012, when the factory was shut down because some of the trees planted in the 1960s were no longer useful for production.
“Because of that,” he added, “we could not supply raw rubber needed to keep the factory operational and enable us to produce and sell the products to the Liberia Agriculture Company (LAC) in Grand Bassa County,” Mr. Mensah emphasized.
Despite the numerous challenges facing the company, Mr. Mensah said, they still maintain cordial working relationship amongst
the entire workforce including senior management, expatriates, local senior staff, unionized employees, and contractors.
Mensah also said they have a combined workforce of 1000 persons, “70 percent of whom are full time employees, while the remaining 30 percent are contractors.”
When quizzed about the recently passed Decent Work Bill, Mensah confidently told journalists that they were following government pronounced wages for employees and contractors.
“We would not comment any further on the decent work bill, because discussions on that issue are still in the process,” he reiterated.
In reference to the deadly Ebola virus and the company’s operations, Mensah said in 2014, the company maintained its full operations and that its health facility remained operational by providing health care delivery to its employees, and community dwellers within and around its operational areas.
In spite of the difficulty, Mensah said SRC has engaged in rebuilding administrative and social infrastructures, which include housing units for the workforce, thereby meeting additional capital needs for them.
In his intervention, the President of the Salala Agriculture Workers Union (SAWU), Anthony Moses, commended the management for maintaining cordial working relationship between the union and the management.
“The recent signing of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the company and workers’ union witnessed an increment in salaries for employees,” SAWU president disclosed.
According to him, the company was also providing rice for each of his members. “They are also providing scholarships, free medication, and other basic services to eight family members of each member of the union,” Moses added.