Sime Darby in Unfair Labor Practice Saga – Lawyers Buy Time

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Monrovia – The Malaysian-owned Sime Darby Plantation Company which was recently involved in an illegal redundancy exercise and was halted by the Ministry of Labor is once again in the limelight on allegations of unfair Labor Practice.

In a complaint to the Ministry of Labor, Samwar S. Fallah, Media Executive of the company who claimed a four count complaint to the Ministry of Labuor stating amongst others that the company has failed to pay him for his unused leave, medical expenses, illegal deduction the company claimed to have remitted to the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP) and others.

Over the period of one year the company deducted more than US$700 from the employee which it claimed was remitted to NASSCORP but during the employee inquiry with NASSCORP, the Corporation said Sime Darby did not any money on behalf of the employee despite the monthly deduction from the employee salary by the company.

The company has also been unable to pay the employee for unused leave in line with Section 18.4 (c) of the Decent Work Act, 2015. Sime Darby has also failed to pay for medical and other expenses in line with the terms and conditions of the employment contract.

In the complaint to the Ministry of Labour, the employee recounted numerous unfair labor practices and violations of the Decent Work Act, 2015, calling on the Administrative Agency to ensure Sime Darby complies with the laws of Liberia.

The Ministry of Labour in a Notice of Assignment cited Sime Darby to an Administrative Hearing on Tuesday, February 6, 2017. The Notice of Assignment which was served by Tommy N. Barbue, was received by the company on January 25, 2018 but on the day of the Hearing, the Dean and Associates, lawyers representing Sime Darby indicated that they are unparape to take part in the hearing and asked for two weeks to prepare.

In the communication signed by Attorney-At-Law, Ebenezer Z. Gibson, the Dean and Associates claimed that it just received the Notice of Assignment from Sime Darby and needed two weeks to prepare.

“We write to inform you that we just received this Assignment from our client and will not be able to attend this conference to represent our client adequately. In this regard, we humbly pray your honor to kindly give us two weeks to prepare ourselves to be able to attend this conference”, the letter stated.

Since the a new Manager Mr. David Parker took over at head of operations of Sime Darby few months ago the company has seen increase in the number of protest and complaints from employees of unfair Labour practice.

Recently, students of the Sime Darby School System staged a massive protest where they held Mr. Parker hostage for hours and deflected his car tyre for halting the school bus from commuting students.

There has also been security unrest at the plantation.

Meanwhile in the wake of widespread violations of the rights of Liberian employees at Sime Darby and other Concession areas in the country, Labour Minister designate Moses Kollie has frowned on unfair labour practices by employers and vowed to take a strong stance.

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