Liberia: CSO Alliance Calls for Constructive Engagements in GVL Employees Protest Saga

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MONROVIA – The Alliance of Civil Right Campaigners of Liberia, a conglomeration of five prodemocracy institutions operating in Liberia, including Liberia Concession Watch Inc., the Progressive Youths for Sustainable Development, Progressive Student Alliance of Liberia, Consortium of Rights Advocates and the Coalition of Youths and Students for Better Liberia has called on protesting employees of Golden Veroleum Liberia in Sinoe County  to abandon the protests and engage into constructive dialogues with management of the company.  The group said while it supports the exercise of citizens’ rights to express their grievances, it will not condone threats, violence and other disruptive actions as means of resolving issues.

On Monday, February 28, 2022, some aggrieved employees of GVL in Sinoe County began protesting based on allegations that the company has reneged on living up to the payment of educational benefit to some employees. But, speaking at the news conference over the weekend, the Alliance of Civil Rights Campaigners of Liberia stated:  “Our  investigation reveals that tin 2019, GVL Management adopted the policy to pay educational benefits to employees and has been making payments to deserving employees.  It is unfair for few employees to initiate protests against Golden Veroleum, as the company has established a workable welfare system, including the provision of sustainable income and benefits; housing facilities with continuous flow of electricity; free health services for employees and residents of host communities and the provision of educational benefits to employees. As the major concession in the Southeast, Golden Veroleum has maintained stability of its workforce and cordial relationship with host communities. These have minimized or momentarily stop all protests against its operations. The company has played a significant in reducing poverty in the southeast through the provision of jobs for over 3,000 Liberian citizens”. 

The Alliance of Civil Rights Campaigners of Liberia also intoned that while the protesting employees may have genuine concerns, the resolution of these concerns is only possible through constructive and peaceful engagements with management of Golden Veroleum and other stakeholders. Constructive engagements, through dialogues between employees and employers have proven to be the most effective means of resolving grievances. Protests have not and will not resolve issues.  We want to commend President Weah for supporting the operations of Golden Veroleum as the major concession in the Southeast.

The CSO Alliance further urged protesting employees of GVL to abandon their protest actions and return to work while constructively engaging the Management of the company. The group then called on other non-governmental organizations to support concession companies and carry out positive engagement/dialogue with companies and communities to resolve conflicts arising from operational areas, as these concessions support the government Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) contributing immensely to the Liberian Economy.  

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