250 Liberian Workers Laid Off At MNG Gold
Kokoyah District, Bong County – About 250 Liberians working at the Turkish mining MNG Gold in Kokoyah Statutory District in Bong County have been laid off, the union representing the workers confirmed Tuesday to FrontPage Africa. “Yes, it’s true,” said Anthony Samman, president of the United Workers Union in Bong County, adding that layoff notices were handed to workers last week.
About 112 Liberian workers will remain on the job for the time being, according to Samman. He said the layoffs aren’t related to the COVID-19 crisis, but are part of plans following the company’s closure of the Open Pit, where those laid off were assigned. “The company’s decision is not related to the current COVID-19 crisis that has affected the economy. Most of the workers affected were assigned at the open pit that has been shut down by the company,” he said.
Obediah Jones, a redundant staff, said he has received all his benefits from the company and is hopeful that he will be recalled when the company operations begin. “I worked at the open pit for the past four years and I am very hopeful that I will be recalled,” he said. “The company has transitioned to underground mining and I think they will need my expertise when the real work begins.”
Troken Bedell, another redundant worker of the company, said the company was not in error because they were aware of the closure of the Open Pit before they were served redundant notices. “We are all aware that the open pit where we were all working has been closed and there is no work going on there. So, my only hope is that the company will see reason to recall us when the operations resume,” he said.
Speaking to FrontPage Africa, Eugine Kollie, the government relations manager of the company and the company’s public relations officer, Lloyd Ngwayah, said the company and the workers on redundancy plans of workers following the closure of the Open Pit.
Kollie said all those affected by the redundancy are being given their accrued and just benefits as required by the Decent Work Act of 2015. “They have begun receiving their payments and most of them have thanked the company for living up to its responsibility,” he said.
Kollie also said that the company would ensure that redundant employees are given first preference of rehiring when the operations of the company expands or improves. “When the company begins operations, we will consider all those who have worked with the company before because some of them were trained by the company and we trust their expertise.”
He also that that apart from the 250 Liberians, 62 expatriates including Turkish, Ghanaians and South Africans who had worked with the company for over four years were also redundant. He said they were laid off because of their lack of experience in underground mining. Kollie said maintaining them would have caused serious economic constraints for the company.
Ngwayah also told FrontPage Africa that both parties agreed that redundant employees would be given first preference when the need for redundant position arises or someone who has expertise and pass the necessary tests when the operations of the company expired. “We regret the hardship creates for families,” Ngwayah said. “We look to better days ahead.”
Continuing, he added: “We know that this announcement comes at a time when many are already challenged with circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 crisis, and we very much regret the added impact this difficult decision has on those redundant, their families and our nearby communities in Kokoyah and Bong County at large,” he said.