Liberia: Local Communities, SRC Workers Reject Sexual Abuse Allegations

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Weala, Margibi – Several community dwellers including employees of the Salala Rubber Cooperation (SRC) have rubbished sexual abuse and land grabbing allegations levied against the company by a right group.

Their statement comes in the wake of an alleged sexual harassment report published by the right group in  its 2019 report against the management of SRC.

At an elaborate meeting held in German Camp #4,  Tuesday, June 4, the various speakers, including women were unanimous in rejecting the sexual abuse allegations.

They said sex has never been set as a precondition for women to be employed by the company or elevated to higher positions.

Oldman Kollie, chairman of the Salala Agricultural Workers Union, who has worked with the company for over 15 years said since he started working with the company he has never seen or heard any female complaining that they have been subjected to sex before being given employment or elevated.

According to Kollie, the sexual harassment alleged by the right group is not surprising as the right group has “continued to print lies and misinformation, and incite local residents within and around SRC Plantation against the company.”

He said since 2010, the group has accused the company of land grabbing, water pollution, among others, with this strange new twist in 2019, about alleged sexual harassment and exploitation of women employees, and those seeking employment.

For his part, Emmanuel Saye, who is the Staff Association President, which is an association of senior SRC employees, said it was a very dangerous precedent for a proclaimed advocacy group and its auxiliaries to make such a grave allegation against a company. According to him, the only way this organization can secure funding from donors, is to report lies and spread misinformation against anyone or entity.

“Our livelihood is tied to the company; if they feel that is the only way to solicit funding from their donor partners is to write such report against their own brothers and sister and country then it is quite unfortunate,” he stated.

Another employee, Fatu Morris speaking through an interpreter said since 2007, she started working with the company, she has not experienced, or heard of any sexual harassment of female employees.

Ms. Morris said she was promoted by the company without being sexually harassed by any man. She stated that those carrying such rumors around are only doing so to collect money and they should stop.

Helena Flomo, another employee said since she joined the SRC family, no one has asked her for sex in relation to her job, neither has there been any report of women being exploited sexually.

“I work here with SRC, before women started slashing. I was the first woman that they called to organize people to slash. I was the head lady when I was slashing, and from there I became cup cleaner head, and right now, I am the slashing head lady.

She further narrated how all throghtout those years, she has not been sexually harassed neither has she heard from any of her colleague females of they being harassed by their male counterparts.

Another lady identified as Kaymah explained that since 2008 she started work with the company serving as cup cleaner, rubbing medicine on rubber trees, worked with the SRC School System, later went to ‘budding class’ and now she is working with the security department, no man has proposed love to her before offering her any of the foregoing positions she mentioned.

According to Madam Kaymah, her bosses always give her job based on her effort, physical strength, and that it is not their bodies as women, that give them money. She said women are employees, they work for their money, and that people just lie to bring a lot of disgrace to women employed with SRC.

Also speaking, the chairman of the community, William Julye, damned this right group for “manipulating their minds with lots of falsehood.”

He revealed that this group “poisoned” their minds under the disguise that the company owed them over US$10 million and that they must join them in their quest to claim the money from the company.

“They made us to buy tickets from them for L$500 so as to enable them fight the case against the company. I still got all of the tickets in my possession till today,” he said.

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