The Management of China Union-Liberia has temporarily shut down its operations in Bong mines in Bong County.
The company took the decision over the weekend following report of six suspected cases of Ebola at the company’s run hospital in Bong Mines.
According to our reporter who visited the company’s operational site in Bong Mines over the weekend, the company on Saturday morning issued a communication calling on all ‘black workers’, seemingly Africans to stay at home from work for the day.
The workers were asked to remain home due to report that an unknown pregnant woman who was on her way to the hospital fell along the road and died. When the woman was taken to the hospital for examination, she was discovered to be a carrier of the Ebola virus.
It was based on that, that the management decided to allow all black workers to stay away from work for the day pending a follow-up examination by authorities of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare that was immediately contacted by the management of China Union on the situation.
Following the issuance of the communication to the representative of the Workers Union headed by Mr. Sumo Kesselly, the workers immediately moved to block a train from leaving the company site and shut down the plant on ground that the management’s action was only targeting the black workers and not Chinese workers.
The worker’s leaders said management did contact them as representatives of the workers before taking the action and the communication was not clear to them relative to the payment of their salaries while away from work.
According to Mr. Kesselly, the president of the Worker’s Union said during a social dialogue meeting organized by the Labor Commissioner of Bong County, Mr. Nyeswah Davis held between the Management and the Workers Union to resolve the situation, in the afternoon of Saturday, August 9, 2014, another report came from the hospital saying that additional five new cases of suspected Ebola victims have been received.
Upon receiving the latest report, the management finally announced the temporarily closure of the company’s operation in Bong Mines for time indefinite.
At that time, management and workers’ representatives formed part of the decision to suspend the company’s operations with the understanding that the company will withdraw their first communication and a new communication will be jointly produced for the parties.
As part of the new communication the company committed herself to workers to the payment of the regular monthly salaries beginning with this month.
They said the salary for August will be paid on August 29; a weekly communication from the management will be sent to update on activities of the company and Ebola situation and workers will be informed as to when to return to work when there is improvement in the Ebola situation.