After several days of protest by aggrieved residents of Bong Mines in Lower Bong County, local Government authorities have resolved the dispute to foster peace and to enhance development in that part of the country.
A spokesman for China Union, Arthur Barclay said that after three days of protest, protesters have now understood the progress the company has made and is making to improve its social responsibility.
The spokesman for the protesters, Folley Fahnbulleh, told this paper that a group of former and current sub-contractors have organized themselves under the name Fuamah Progressive Platform (FPP) in order to bring attention to the bad labor practices and failure to implement the concession agreement signed by the Government of Liberia and China Union.
Speaking with this paper Mr. Fahnbulleh said that not only has China Union failed to adhere to the labor laws in the country. The company has caused the death of one of its Liberian workers who was beaten to death by a Chinese worker.
He continued that when the man was beaten the company acted insensitive by labeling the death as an accident and the company compensated the dead man’s family with US$3,000. He added that several complaints have been given to top management of the unfavorable treatment of workers by Chinese workers but nothing has been done to date to relieve the tension.
According to the FPP Spokesman the China Union’s 2.6 billion dollar concession has reaped no fruit since China Union began operations over four years ago.
Mr. Fahnbulleh pointed out that roads have not been paved; housing units have not been renovated, no relief has been made with concerns with water and sanitation which were all spelt out in the agreement signed by the company and the GOL.
For his part the Executive Director for China Union in Liberia, Ken Shen said that several factors have been hindering the progress the company is making and the just ended protest action by FPP, though illegal has been concluded for the sake of peace.
He continued that China Union is working with national and local government to comply with social responsibility agreements that are within the concession agreement.
Currently China Union gives US$3.5 million dollars as part of its social development fund. Some 10 Chinese doctors are currently in the country to add to the staff at the Bong Mines Community Hospital and are awaiting certification by the Liberian health authorities to begin treating patients at the hospital.
With the rainy season coming to a close, works on the Kakata-Hendi Road would have begun to properly rehabilitate the road so as to bring relief to the residents and the China Union.
In conclusion the issue surrounding the alleged beating of a Liberian employee by a Chinese worker, the company said that the Liberia National Police investigated the incident and found no foul play involved.
The China Union Head in Monrovia said if a Chinese worker had beaten a Liberian worker; sure enough the Chinese worker would have been sent to the proper Liberian authorities. He then used the occasion to call on Liberians to also respect the laws of the country to continue the 10 years of peace that the country has been enjoying.