Normal working activities resumed on Tuesday, April 3, at the Sime Darby Plantation in Western Liberia, after workers went on a week-long go-slow action following the death of their friend, only identified as Kollie.
The go-slow action came to an end following a stakeholders’ meeting held in Klay, Bomi County, on Monday, April 2.
The meeting brought together several groups in the County, including the management of the company, the General Agriculture Workers Union (GAAWUL), the locals and some officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP).
During the meeting, the workers were represented by GAAWUL’s secretary general, Alfred Summerville, who agreed to encourage his colleagues to return to work.
As a requirement, Summerville mentioned the payment of employees for the days they boycotted work, saying that it is the company’s, and not the employees’ fault. Moreover, a speedy investigation into the death of Kollie, among others, should be looked into, he said.
“There are so many issues that need to be addressed by this company, and we are taking them step-by-step for now. The police is investigating the criminal part, after which we will come up with the side of the Labor Ministry. Let me tell you people that what the workers are on is not a strike, but solidarity with one of their members,” Summerville declared.
He added, “Sime Darby must be able to pay the workers for the seven days they stayed out of work, because it was their own negligence and so, it should not be against the workers.”
In response to the workers’ request, Sime Darby head of Legal Section, Attorney Ebenezer Gibson, said that the company cannot outrightly promise to pay the workers, but that it could look into their welfare.
“It will require some time for the company to meet up with all of your demands through a set-up committee, it cannot happen instantly and you know and I know,” Atty. Gibson said.
The LNP has meanwhile agreed to make a full report into the death of Kollie on Saturday, April 7.
LNP’s Chief of Traffic, John Saah, promised to do everything possible to come up with a report.