Liberia: BEA Mountain Gives 116 Contractors Employment Status

Workers representatives and management posed for a photo after the signing of the MOU   

About 116 contractors have been given permanent employment status at the Bea Mountain Mining Company, after several months of services with the company.

The company’s management took the decision following a series of negotiations carried out by the affected workers some time ago with a memorandum of understanding signed between the two parties.

The signing ceremony took place over the weekend in Kinjor and was witnessed by officials from the Bureau of Concessions, National Investment Commission, and Labor Ministry, among other stakeholders. The two parties have reached a satisfactory deal, thus placing smiles on the faces of all parties, especially the employed contractors.

At the end of the negotiations, both parties agreed to several provisions of the MOU including the reinstatement of union officials with different assignments; 116 short-term contractors' status was changed to permanent status. The status of 90 daily hires (casual workers) was changed to short-term. 

All short-term workers will have all benefits (school fees, medical insurance, rice subsidy, and other benefits contained in the CBA. Upon signing the new consent form from the union leadership, recreational construction was approved pending completion of the land to be purchased from the community, which has started; acceptance to start working with a new bargaining agent (mother union).

The Chairman of the workers' union, Samuel A. Roberts, read the MOU to the workers after the signing ceremony. 

Also, it was agreed that there would be the maintenance of industrial harmony at the mine; that there would be no strike action or lockout of any kind by the workers. Furthermore, it was also stated in the MOU that the workers would continue to engage management in social dialogue to resolve their grievances and not in any way support or lend support to any form of strike action.

For its part, management agreed that it would not institute any form of disciplinary action against any worker who had earlier engaged in strike action announced before September 16.

Management agreed to construct a recreation center in Kinjor and also furnish workers with names of workers whose employment status had been changed.

It can be recalled that early this year, the company filed a notice of termination and redundancy to the Ministry of Labor for 35 Liberian employees and 16 Turkish nationals on grounds that their assignment sites had been exhausted and there was no need for any jobs.

When the letter was sent, the chairman of the workers' union, Roberts, was served a copy and did not act within the time frame. Based upon that, the ministry granted Bea mountain permission to effect the termination of those specific employees.

After two months of said redundancy, the union chairman, Roberts, and Reklyatu Wayne, filed with the ministry a five-count objection, which was accompanied by a notice to strike and lockdown.

The union chairman in his five-count petition called for the reinstatement of all union leaders who were declared redundant illegally and those other illegally due-paying workers; to commence immediate discussions of newly exclusive bargaining agents on all matters of the CBA;

A ruling was given in the case by the Ministry of Labor. However, the workers decided to further dialogue with management after a number of them decided to embark on strike action.