More than 1,000 employees of the Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL), are working under ‘extreme fear’ due to the lack of ‘employment letters.’
This is after more than four months of active service, the leadership of Golden Veroleum Agriculture Workers Union of Liberia (GOVAWUL) told the Daily Observer.
The refusal of the Management to legitimize the status of the employees is generating serious concern amongst the workers; many believe that it amounts to “job insecurity and bad labor practice,” Mr. Stanley Seneh Carter, president of (GOVAWUL), told the paper.
The slightly-shaken GOVAWUL official explained that if the letters of employment problem is not tackled immediately, the workers’ worry may lead to hubbub (noise, racket).
“Again and again, we have urged management to provide letters of employment to employees who have spent over three months in the employ of GVL; but our pleas have fallen on deaf ears. So, we are using this medium to call the attention of the proper authority to the fact that about 50% of the workers in GVL jobs are not secured,” Mr. Carter said.
“We all know that in the absence of letters of employment, employees can be denied certain benefits, in the case of dismissal, death, or even suspension,” he added.
Three workers, contacted at the Butaw Project sites in Sinoe, confirmed being employed since mid-2012, but are yet to receive letters of employment.
“We are working through the mercy of God, because we have not received any papers that prove we are working” they said separately, in their Kru vernacular.
For his part the Secretary General of GOVAWUL, T. Chea Matthew, Jr., indicated that the affected employees include the workforce in Butaw and Kpanyan, as well as those that man (operate) offices in Monrovia.
Mr. Carter also revealed that since the 2010 commencement of GLV operations in Sinoe, they have received no Handbook or policy to address vital matters about the employees’ working conditions, salary matters, or the company’s transport and safety plans.
According to a letter addressed to Eric Goll and dated November 30, 2013, the Senior Manager of the Human Resource Department at GVL, Mr. Carter, strongly advised that warning, suspension and dismissal letters from GVL management should not include any quotation from or reference to her ‘invisible policy’ and handbook, to avoid future problems between management, union and the national government.
Meanwhile, when contacted, Virgil Magee, the head of communication at GVL, admitted that some of the employees do not have letters of employment; “but they are in process,” he explained.
“The letters of employment are in process; I cannot tell you how long the process will take…but they will have their letters of employment,” Mr. Magee assured.
When quizzed about the lack of policy or handbook at GVL, Mr. Magee refuted the allegation and said that the Workers’ Union has not requested it through him, as head of communications, according to the Company’s protocol.
“I have not seen any letter of request from Mr. Carter; let me add that we do have a policy,” Mr. Carter retorted.