Liberia: ArcelorMittal mine workers resume strike for better working conditions
Author: Ishmael F. Menkor, Daily Observer (Liberia), Published on: 7 August 2018
"ArcelorMittal Mine Workers Resume Strike", 3 August 2018
Normal mining activities at the ArcelorMittal mine in Yekepa..have come to a standstill for the second time in less than 10 days, after miners abandoned their equipment, when their meeting with the Ministry of Labor (MOL) and the company earlier that day did not end to the workers’ satisfaction. Leaders of the workers and ArcelorMittal met with MoL authorities to discuss issues appertaining to their demands, including work security, cancellation of “zero week”, restoration of leave with benefits, among others...Ministry of Labor...told the aggrieved workers to go back and organize their union before the government can look into their grievances...the company said: “Negotiations on contracts and conditions should always be handled via union representatives – conducting illegal strike action is not a constructive way to resolve such disputes. Union elections are intended to take place on the 16th of August and the elected representatives will ensure the appropriate forum and process to discuss employee concerns...“ArcelorMittal Liberia is being affected by a second illegal strike in its Load and Haul Department...Once again, we are urging our workers to go back to work to minimize disruption to our operations,” the company said yesterday...They want the company remove what is termed as “zero week” from their work arrangement; improved feeding at work, as well as the provision of good housing facilities and good health care. For zero week, they complained that, some weeks they would work for 12 hours, but the management would only pay 8 hours without overtime pay. “They are giving US$0.50 a day as lunch, but we would not receive the money sometimes for three months,” said one of the caterpillar operators, who did want to be named. “We are supposed to work for 8 hours a day, but if you work for 12 hours, the balance four hours will not be paid and there is no paid leave, no school, no better housing or health care facilities,” said another worker. “How can we work in our country under such a suppressed condition? If you are unfortunate to begin work from Wednesday, then you fall in zero week, meaning, you will not be marked,” the worker said...“We want to create a work environment where our management and employees have an open, constructive and collaborative relationship within a safe and efficient workplace. Our management team has assured their full cooperation and transparency with both the Government authorities and our employees and remains focused on finding a resolution as soon as possible,” the company maintained.
Related companies: Arcelor Mittal