Liberia: Bea Mountain Workers’ Union Blast Ministry of Labor for Ignoring their Complaints, Threatens Strike Action Against Company’s ‘Bad Labor Practice’
PAYNESVILLE – The National Union of Hospitality, Aviation, Communications & Energy Workers (NUHACE) has frowned at the Ministry of Labor for not prevailing on the Bea Mountain Mining Corporation (BMMC) to seek its members’ welfare; as it threatened a strike action and lockouts against the management of the company.
NUHACE served the Ministry of Labor a formal notice about its planned actions to strike and lockouts against the Management of Bea Mountain for the company’s reported failure to implement several recommendations seeking the welfare of its workers.
In the letter addressed to the Ministry dated May 16, 2023, NUHACE recounted that since September, 2020 to now, the workers of BMMC/Construction and Mining Contractors (CMC) through their workplace representatives and their office, have filed a series of complaints against the BMMC/CMC management.
The letter added that those complaints detailed several violations of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Memorandum of Understanding and the outcome of discussions held between the Ministry of Labor, the local union, mother union and the management of the company at several venues and different dates including at the Ministry.
The institution noted that it categorized the workers’ concerns into short term, medium term and long term for implementation based on advice from the office of the Minister of Labor, Cllr. Charles Gibson but unfortunately, NUHACE stressed that the management of BMMC/CMC has failed to implement all of the agreements reached through those social dialogue processes.
Stating the reasons for their planned strike and lockouts, NUHACE indicated that the BMMC willfully violates and refuses to provide direct or indirect housing for 90% of the employees as per (MDA Section 11.b).
According to the parent union, what is more disturbing is the fact that the Ministry of Labor has been concerned with preventing workers from exercising their rights to strike and not prevailing on the BMMC/CMC management to do the right thing by implementing the various agreements.
NUHACE also stressed that the company has violated the Decent Work Act Chapter 14 Section 5e, j subsection 6 among others, noting that the management of the entity willfully violates the rights of casual workers who have overstayed the statutory period (DMA Chapter 13.2) and providing professional job to workers and classified it as casual workers.
According to the group, BMMC grossly refused to change overstayed contractors’ status to permanent status, the violation not to provide workers their target bonus as prescribed in the CBA and failure to increase salary.
Among others, NUHACE said the company refuses to carry on promotion for national staff, adding that the BMMC also willfully violates the CBA Article 4 and the MOU in admitting all short-term contractors into the union, refusing to provide their full benefits.
The National Union of Hospitality Aviation Communication & Energy Workers averred that the company further refuses to fully implement NASSCORP EIS scheme (employee injury scheme) thus leaving injured employees without benefit from NASSCORP, while the BMMC management fails to instruct NASSCORP to provide employees contribution statements.
Among other things, NUHACE stressed that the Bea Mountain Mining Company has failed to provide medical checks to all employees who are working in hazardous areas after every three months as prescribed by the CBA.
At the same time, NUHACE indicated that the management has refused to implement the Ministry of Labor ruling on salary increment for underground workers, as part of a social dialogue in February 2022 and salary increment for all local workers.
It averred that the company has not provided life insurance and indefinite employment for all underground workers and workers who are working in hazardous areas.
The umbrella union for the workers intimated that BMMC willfully violates contractors Stanley Young and Johnson Passewe from the construction department on allegation of vehicle theft.
Meanwhile, the National Union of Hospitality Aviation Communication & Energy Workers has told Labor Minister, Cllr. Charles Gibson through the communication that they are determined to set absolutely no standard to deter their planned actions if the management of the Bea Mountain Mining Company fails to comply.