KINJOR TOWN, Jan. 25 (LINA) -Residents of the gold mining town of Kinjor in Gola Konneh District, Grand Cape Mount County, have staged a protest in demand of reforms at the Bea Mountain Mining Corporation (BMMC).
The residents, who began their protest action on Thursday, January 21, are demanding the “unconditional dismissal or transfer” of the company’s Human Resource Manager, Jackson Yulk and his Deputy, Noah Kenneth.
The protesters have blocked the entrance to the company, preventing workers and vehicles from entering or leaving the mining area, thus leading to complete paralysis of the company’s operations.
Speaking to the Liberia News Agency at the protest scene, the head of the protesters, Boakai Talafero, said the two senior managers have been the cause of several illegal dismissals at the company.
Talafero also accused the two managers of not seeking the welfare of the employees, stressing that they are not working in the interest of locals in the county.
“These guys are in the habit of making people to work for six months in the name of probation; thereafter, they drop you without pay which part of the labor law says that?” Talafero asked.
He pointed out that Section 3.2 of the MOU signed between the Government of Liberia and the Bea Mountain Mining Corporation states that “the company will have 70% of the managerial positions, while the locals will have 30% in the first 8 years following which the locals will have 70%, while the company takes 30%.”
According to him, the Human Resource Manager position is one of several positions that should be given to the locals but is currently being occupied by Jackson Yulk who they claim is from Nimba County.
The head of the protesters said over the years they have been engaging the company to address these concerns, but nothing has changed, adding that this time they will remain in the street until their demand is met.
“One thing we cannot compromise is Jackson and Kenneth issue. It is left with Bea Mountain to transfer them elsewhere but let them leave the HR position,” Talafero said.
He indicated that though the dismissal of the HRs is their immediate concern, they have other grievances against the company.
He named them as failure to construct a high school in the community; the reduction of Turkish nationals in the employ of the company and the company’s failure to appoint citizens of the county in managerial positions.
They also cited the failure to establish of a skills training center in the area and the bad labor practices which, they claimed, the company is engaged in at the mine.
Talafero urged his fellow protesters to remain peaceful as they continue to demand the dismissal of the two senior managers of the company.
Meanwhile, Internal Affairs Minister Varney A. Sirleaf and the Superintendent of Grand Cape Mount County, Aaron Vincent, have intervened to resolve the situation.
In the first meeting with Minister Sirleaf and Superintendent Vincent, the Management agreed to establish a position of Human Resource Superintendent for the locals, but that was resisted by the protesters.
Sources told the Liberia News Agency that the Minister and Superintendent have called for another meeting with the protesters and the Management of Bea Mountain Mining Corporation,”