The management of the Salala Rubber Corporation (SRC) in Gibi District, Upper Margibi County, has announced the indefinite suspension of its tapping operations until further notice, Liberia News Agency Margibi Correspondent, Richard Baysah reports.
The suspension took effect Feb. 29.
A statement issued by the company said, the action is due to the decline in the price of natural rubber on both local and international markets, along with its decision to streamline its operations against the financial and economic difficulties occasioned by the plummeting commodity price that has shown no sign of abating.
The management further said that as a result it is constrained to lay off 300 of its employees, which is nearly half of its workforce, and will maintain a skeleton staff to keep the company running.
“The decision is to further avoid the worst case scenario against indefinite shutdown of our entire operations until there are some significant increments in the price of rubber on the market,” management said.
“The layoff has affected all categories of employees some of whom are not directly connected to tapping and will be paid as provided for under Section 3 of Regulation #8, 1985, of the Labor Practices Law of Liberia.”
The management has meanwhile been holding series of internal discussions with the leadership of its workers union.
The SRC management said it regretted the decision to lay-off such a huge number of its employees.
Between 2000 and 2010, the price of rubber went as high as US$2,850 per wet ton, but started to fall in 2011, and it currently stands at US$406 per wet ton, a decline of 86 percent.
In the meantime, some of the employees have decided to remain with the company, while they engage in volunteer work until they are paid off.