Liberia: Sime Darby Set to Lay Off 350 Employees
MONROVIA – About 350 persons in Western Liberia, the most impoverished region in the country, are about to lose their jobs as the biggest concession company in the area, Sime Darby Oil Palm Plantation is scaling down operation in the country.
Report by Lennart Dodoo, [email protected]
The move comes as the Malaysian company’s return on investment in Liberia has been lower than expected due to disappointing planting activity amid stricter new international environmental standards.
FrontPageAfrica has been able to confirm that at least 350 workers would be receiving letter of redundancy. Inside sources within the management of the Plantation informed FPA that more workers would be laid off between August and December this year.
“The company has decried to leave Liberia but the only way it can continue to manage the small planted area of 10,000 hectares is to massively reduce cost. If the company does not cut cost, it will be forced to close down perpetually,” the source said.
Accordingly, eight expatriates (Malaysians) have been sent back home.
FrontPageAfrica has obtained a copy the letter which is being issued to the employees. It reads:
We present our compliments and regret that due to economic reasons and other circumstances beyond our control, you are hereby declared redundant as of August 10, 2019 in line with Chapter 14 Section 5 of the Decent Work Act, 2015 and Article of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between. Management of Sime Darby Plantation [Liberia] Inc. and General Agriculture & Allied Workers’ Union of Liberia [GAAWUL].
Please note the following:
- You are one month notice of July 10, 2019
- You will report to the Human Resource Department for your severance benefit or compensation that includes one (1) one for each year of service, including transportation as stipulated in the Collective bargaining Agreement and any unpaid accrued salaries or benefits.
- You will turn in your working ID card and any company property in your possession and turn over the company house you currently occupy if you were given any. You are hereby given 15 days from the operational date of notice to vacate the premises you are occupying. If you fail to comply, the Company shall institute the appropriate action
Kindly acknowledge receipt of this letter by signing on the duplicate and return same for the company’s record.
Thank for very much for your understanding.
ON BEHALF OF SIME DARBY PLANTATION LIBERIA, INC.
The Company has also put out a memo restricting the use of its clinic to only employed staff and their dependents as a means of cutting down cost of operation.
“It is provided in the Concession Agreement that the company should provide medical services for employees and dependents and government officials working within the concession area.
Another cost cutting measure will see the eviction of illegal occupants living in the company camps. Some people who are not employees of the company have been living in the company camps for several years. The company employees are unable to occupy these housing units because of the illegal occupants. As a result of this, the company is pending over US$16,000 monthly to pay rent for its employees who should be living in these camps,” the source said.
The oil palm grower had signed a 63-year concession agreement with the Liberian government to develop 220,000ha in Grand Cape Mount, Bomi, Gbarpolu and Bong Counties into oil palm and rubber plantations. To date, 10,508ha have been planted in five estates, namely, Matambo, Grand Cape Mount, Zodua, Bomi and Lofa. Out of the total planted area of 10,508ha, 10,401ha are planted with oil palm and 107ha with rubber.