As company moves to reduce operational costs
The Management of Golden Veroleum Liberia Inc. (GVL) has disclosed that it is currently rationalizing its workforce to implement a redundancy exercise affecting 250 employees due to the numerous economic challenges the Company has been facing over the years coupled with a prolonged global economic downturn exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
A statement issued by the Company on Monday, August 17, 2020, noted that the decision is to ensure the continuity of its business in Liberia, indicating further that the exercise affects various departments: “The company has been implementing cost control measures to ensure our business is able to survive the economic downturn conditions and adapt to the changing global business market.”
The statement further said, “the reduction of its workforce that is in full consultation with the affected workers, the workers’ union and the Ministry of Labor, becomes necessary to sustain its business in Liberia. It also clarifies that about 52% of the number of workers to be redundant voluntarily asked Management to pay them off, citing many reasons including family problems and further studies, amongst others.”
It adds that GVL Management has concluded communications with the Ministry of Labor, related government institutions, union, community representatives and the affected employees, noting that effort has been made to ensure that the process follows the laws and regulations of Liberia which include the Liberia Decent Work Act of 2015 and Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the Golden Veroleum Agriculture Workers’ Union of Liberia (GOVAWUL).
The release further added that in keeping with the Company’s development plans, it has been employing, training, and preparing employees for deployment as it expands.
However, it has not been able to expand the past four years, while continuing to pay salaries for non-deployed employees. The Company is unable to bear this cost any more.
The statement notes that GVL’s growth plans have been affected initially by land issues and most recently the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced many companies in Liberia and elsewhere to reduce cost or close down.
The Company says regardless of the current challenges, it may still continue to employ workers in certain areas beyond its requirement for the current operations, but that in order for the company to move forward, it needs to rationalize the current workforce.
Despite the economic challenges faced by the company, it is still in the process of constructing a joint venture Golden Sifca Inc. to operate an oil palm processing mill in Maryland County to help overcome the constraints of transporting fresh fruit bunches (FFB) from its plantations in Grand Kru County to its current Tarjuowon Mill in Sinoe County.
The Company said that the employees who are affected by this redundancy exercise will be provided with the appropriate severance package in keeping with applicable Laws of Liberia and the Company’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the Golden Veroleum Agriculture Workers’ Union of Liberia (GOVAWUL).
GVL affirmed that when the Company’s financial and economic status improves in the future, employees who are affected by this redundancy may be prioritized for re-employment, taking into account skills, capability, and productivity requirements.
Meanwhile, the Management of GVL further said the company will continue to contribute to the Liberian economy through government taxes, salaries, and local purchases.
To date, it has also spent over $20 million in providing free education, healthcare, housing, security support, and other corporate social responsibility activities at the local, county, and national levels.