... As one of Liberia’s biggest employers, Bea Mountain's move would have great impacts on the lives of its employees, many of whom have multiple dependents.
Bea Mountain has said it will accept its workers’ demand for a salary increase and standardization of employment status.
The announcement by the Canadian mining company would see its workforce pay increase by 10 percent, which is one of the biggest in the company's history in Liberia.
As one of Liberia’s biggest employers, Bea Mountain's move would have great impacts on the lives of its employees, many of whom have multiple dependents. In Liberia, a single employee is expected to respond to the need of at least four people; as such, a low salary becomes a low problem,
The agreement between the company and its workers, which was reached on June 7, came as a result of the Ministries of Labour and Internal Affairs intervention and that of the Liberia National Police, which was aimed at resolving a strike action that has affected the company’s operations for weeks.
“[Bea Mountain] agreed to increase all local workers’ salaries by 10% beginning June 1, 2023, to June 1, 2025, with immediate effect,” the company, which operates in Western Liberia, particularly Grand Cape County, said in a commitment to the workers.
“Any increment during the coming CBA renewal shall not be applied to this period. That there shall be no witch hunt against any work due to the work Mountain.”
It added: “On the issue of housing allowance, the management agreed to give US$20 to employees who have not been given housing beginning June 1, 2023, to June 1, 2025.
However, Bea Mountain noted that employees who are living in the camp or residing in the company facilities would be excluded, including those covered on the Resettlement Action Plan that received housing units.
According to the signed agreement, Bea Mountain and its workforce have agreed that there will be “no further work stoppage upon the execution of the agreement, while other negotiations are ongoing.
Bea Mountain, which is a Canadian mining company, is owned by Avesoro Resources.
The company’s primary focus is on the exploration, development, and extraction of gold deposits in Liberia. It operates the New Liberty Gold Mine, which is the first commercial gold mine in Liberia.
The mine is situated in the Bea Mountain range in the northwestern part of the country. The New Liberty Gold Mine has an estimated mineral resource of around 9.6 million ounces of gold, and it has been in operation since 2015.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Labor has in a related development announced that AFCONS, a contract company of steel giant ArcelorMittal Liberia, has also agreed to pay “646 former and current workers” a little over US$373,000 for violating their contract terms.
During the 2014 Ebola crisis, AFCONS laid off nearly 700 workers on the understanding that when work recommences after the pandemic, they would be first to be re-employed.
But, AFCONS failed and, instead, employed a new set of workers.
“The Ministry of Labour has ruled in favor of the aggrieved workers that AFCONS should settle with the workers the remaining term of their employment contract since it failed to re-employ them,” the Ministry said.