Grand Bassa County – The striking workers of LiBINCO, a palm oil company in Grand Bassa County, have agreed to return to work, on Tuesday. The decision to return to work was reached following the intervention of the Director-General of the National Bureau of Concessions (NBC), Atty. Edwin Dennis, in a meeting with the workers on Monday, December 6.
The meeting which was arranged by Rep. Thomas Goshua of Grand Bassa County District #5, was attended by the workers and the management of the company. In the meeting, Atty. Dennis assured the workers that he, along with Rep. Goshua and the County Labor Commissioner, Mr. Quayquay will work assiduously with the management to address some of their demands within the 90-day time given by the workers.
The workers had launched a strike action over the company’s decision to demand birth certificates for employees’ dependents before giving tuition assistance and several benefits. The workers also called for the provision of ambulance and trucks to commute them to and from work. Their actions slowed down activities at the company as no sides wanted to give in to the other’s request.
However, during the meeting, Atty. Dennis instructed the Company to suspend with immediate effect, the decision to request birth certificates for employees’ dependents before giving tuition assistance. He noted that the timing of the decision at the verge of school opening, did not give the employees ample time to gather such documents. On the other hand, he cautioned the workers to gather the required documents during the course of the 1st semester and or before the next school year.
Atty Dennis also pleaded with Management to pay the workers for the five days of their strike. He, however, cautioned the employees to channel their grievances through their Union leadership and to avoid future strike actions.
“It was important that we intervened. And we are glad that both sides were willing to amicable resolve the situation,” Atty. Dennis said in a brief interview with reporters after the mediation exercise.
“What was important is that we made it clear for the workers should always channel their grievances through their Union leadership to seek redress, instead of using striking as the first option.”
In his remarks, Rep. Goshua pleaded with the company to address the complaints of the workers in a swift and timely manner. He, then, cautioned the employees to be honest in the documentation they would be presenting to the management.
In his response, the CEO of the Company, Mr. Sashi Nambiar, stressed the importance the company’s management attaches to the education of the dependents of the workers. He then accepted to work with the Director General of the NBC, Rep Goshua and the County Labor Commissioner, Mr. Quayquay to address the issues raised by the workers. He accepted to suspend the birth certificate requirement for this school year to give the workers ample time to gather the documents that are required for the tuition assistance workers’ dependents.