Liberia: MNG Gold Lays Off over 160 Employees
Kokoyah District, Bong County – MNG Gold Liberia, the Turkish gold mining company operating in Kokoyah Statutory District in Bong County, has laid off at least 160 of its employees, blaming the move on “unfavorable market condition” in Liberia and a “fall in the world market price for gold”.
Report by Selma Lomax, [email protected]
The company had warned that at least 800 of its 1,700 Liberian employees would be laid off this year and more could follow in subsequent year.
Steep decline in the value of the local currency, rising costs of utility are also contributing in raising the cost of doing business in Liberia have also been blamed for the company’s action, FrontPageAfrica has gathered.
A source told this newspaper that the redundancy is coming on the heels of some “operation challenges” facing the company. Costs of input have been generally very high, our source said.
Although our source noted that the company acknowledges that the situation might put a lot of burden on the families of the workers, keeping them at post will affect the company’s productivity even more.
“This is purely due to market conditions and scaling down our operations, which is very important in any mining company,” our source, who is very close to the company, said. “If you don’t have revenue you don’t expect that workers come to work and get paid.”
Labor cost and imported chemicals have extremely shot up, he added. This source noted that the situation has been compounded by the dwindling price of gold.
Our source added that the government and other stakeholders must now understand and appreciate the challenges the company is going through and work to mitigate the situation especially for those who are going to be laid off.
The company also placed on record, according to our source, that the number of workers that were retrenched is far lower than being speculated.
The initial retrenchment of workers will affect the local economy as all activities in the communities evolve around mining.
One staffer of the company told FrontPageAfrica that he is worried the development would worsen the unemployment situation the government is battling to deal with.
He, however, assured residents that the company is on top of the game to manage any security concerns that may arise. He described the company as towns and surrounding communities.
gathered that tension is said to be brewing in Kokoyah District over the company’s
decision to lay off 160 employees.
According to sources, the workers are so agitated over the decision of the company, triggering a possible showdown with management later this week.
The workers believe that the decision by the company to lay them off is totally “unfortunate and disingenuous.”
Meanwhile, Rick Davies with #208, who worked for the company as Mine Engineer for over a year, expressed dismay that the company has taken such decision at the time. “No one will be happy for such news. I really didn’t know the company would have taken such action. I started hearing this one week ago,” he said. Davies urged those contemplating of reverting to violence because of the company’s decision to have a rethink. “Those thinking of venting their anger because of the company’s decision to praise the company for the time they have worked for instead of violence”.
In the Davies’ termination letter, MNG Gold management said: “The management would like to inform you that due to the less than favorable economic and financial of the company, coupled with the huge losses the company sustained in November 2018, as well as the higher than anticipated inflation rate in the county have rendered you as Mine Engineer Redundant.
“Regrettably this means your employment will be terminated effective May 31, 2019.
“Please note that this decision is not a reflection on your performance.
“Due to employment ending because of redundancy, you will be paid redundancy paid off in accordance with the Decent Work Act and will be done with the Ministry of Labor at a date to be announced later.”
The dismissed workers, FrontPageAfrica gathered, are bent on resisting any attempts by management to sack them, especially when proper negotiations and engagements have not been fully completed.
Meanwhile, efforts to reach the company’s Public Relations Officer, Lloyd Ngawayah, for a reaction proved futile as he was unavailable for comment.