Labor Crisis Looms in Grand Bassa County

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The Labor Commissioner of Grand Bassa County, Augustine Gbosah, has decried what he described as “looming labor cases” in the county, with over 31 pending investigations.

The Commissioner said that four of the 31 cases were “very serious” and needed quick attention “or they will shortly blow out of proportion thereby creating labor unrest or strike action in the county.”

He listed some of the issues which precipitated the cases as salary arrears, closure of unexpired contracts, severance pay, school, housing and other benefits some of the companies operating in the county owed their employees. Gbosah revealed that pension and death benefits tops the cases pending investigations.
Commissioner Gbosah said 400 of the downsized workers of the Liberty Protective Guard Service accused management of owing them US$31,602, while 14 downsized ArcelorMittal Liberia employees engaged management for US$79,695 in unpaid benefits.

He said other companies including the Liberia Agriculture Company (LAC), Equatorial Palm Oil, and the RB Group Incorporated, are experiencing similar problems with some of their former employees.

At the Commissioner’s behest, this reporter visited his office in Buchanan and witnessed aggrieved workers, mostly from RB Group Inc, demanding supposed benefits the company allegedly committed to pay them since July 31, 2015.

“These workers brought their complaints here and we invited the management of RB Group Inc, but they told us that they were facing some financial constraints and therefore could not respond to our call,” said Gbosah.

Adding to the debate, former RB Group Inc electrician, Joseph Page said, “We were downsized in July 31 this year and so we need our money, which includes our severance benefits. I worked for five years, was downsized, but no pay.”

When contacted, the company’s Human Resources Manager, Nelson Hail, admitted that “the company owed some employees, but (that) the [workers] have not been paid because of financial constraints the management is facing.”

Although the matter was already in court, Hail revealed that the company was working out the modalities on paying the workers within two weeks.
However, Hail did not explain which modalities the company was putting in place to settle the aggrieved workers.

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