Citizens Complain ArcelorMittal for Bad Labor but Pres. Weah Commends Company for Developmental Contributions to Liberia
Nimba – Despite complaints from workers, citizens and Civil Society Organizations about Liberia’s steel giant ArcelorMittal continuous practices of bad labor, President George Manneh Weah has hailed the company for its operation in Liberia.
President Weah appraisal to Arcelor Mittal comes just two days, when he reacted sharply to similar bad labor practice, coupled with breach of social corporate responsibilities by another concession company operating in Liberia, MNG Gold.
MNG Gold is a concession company operating in David Dean Town, Bong County, while ArcelorMittal mines iron ore in Nimba.
On Tuesday, as part of his ongoing tour to six counties, President Weah, while visiting Arcelor Mittal Concession site said the company was doing a great job for the people of Liberia and Nimba County.
“With this kind of technical education, citizens will be encouraged to come to the county and push forward,” President Weah said.
“We know there are lot of challenges associated with such a business sector, but we know you are doing a great job here.”
While inspecting the Ganta to Yekepa Road Project being carried out by ArcelorMittal, he told the company to do its best to ensure that road is completed in time.
During President Weah’s interaction with citizens s of Nimba in Ganta City, prior to his visit at ArcelorMittal, the spokesperson of the Civil Society In Nimba County, Yan Flomo expressed disappointment in Arcelor Mittal.
Flomo outline what he termed as bad labor practices by the steel giant.
“One of the largest investments we have in our country is Arcelor Mittal, and if that mine investment is to benefit our people, we want you to look at few things during the mine development agreement,” Mr. Flomo stated.
He asserted that in 2020 alone, the company exceeded five hundred million, one hundred thousand tons of ore when the price of iron ore is now increasing on the world market, but citizens are yet to get their dividend in line with their social contract.
Mr. Flomo stated that there is a need for government to review the social development contract with ArcelorMittal, owing to the fact that ore price is increasing.
What seems contradicting for some citizens of Nimba is that President Weah blasted MNG Gold for similar bad labor practice.
Workers of ArcelorMittal have over the time protested bad labor practices by the company’s management.
On March 21, 2018, the plenary of the House of Representatives charged it’s House’s Standing Committees on Lands Mines and Energy, Health, Investment and Judiciary to fully investigate the operation of Arcelor Mittal, following reports of reneging on some provisions of the concession agreement.
The decision followed a communication from Nimba County District Number Three Representative, Robert Nyan Somwarbi, that Arcelor Mittal was not living to it’s Mineral Development Agreement.
He said the company deserted the properties including housing units, leaving workers to live in unfavorable condition.
Also, on Tuesday, August 20, 2020, several aggrieved former employees of the steel giant who believe they were illegally redundant between 2015 and 2016 staged a protest by blocking the company’s railway with coffins, stone and pieces of sticks.
However, both aggrieved workers and the Arcelor Mittal came to an agreement, after an intervention by government.
When contacted, Arcelor Mittal Superintendent for Corporate Communication, Winston P. Daryoue said he could not speak via mobile phone.
But said he what he terms as unofficial statement, that the company has settle those workers who have legitimate claims.
“I can’t respond on the phone to these questions, what I advise is that you emailed me your questions and I will respond to them,” Daryoue said.