MARCO Plantation Workers Stage Protest in Demand of Better Working Conditions

TODEE, Montserrado – Hundreds of current and redundant employees at the private Morris American Rubber Company in Todee District staged a protest in demand of benefits allegedly owed them by the company.

More than three hundred protesters gathered as early as 5:00 a.m. on Thursday to set up roadblocks over the Du River bridge near Kakata on the Redlight-Gbarnga highway. For hours, they prevented the movement of people and vehicles along the route.

Employees who had been laid off since 2014 claimed that the company owed them benefits, while those currently working with the company are demanding that 40 months’ salary arrears be paid. The workers claimed that the company’s management has also failed to provide them and their dependents with education and healthcare.

“They are treating us like slaves. How can someone be working for you without pay? How they want us [to] survive?” a MARCO employee told The Bush Chicken on condition of anonymity.

The spokesman of the redundant workers, Joe Flomo, said via a phone interview that the company owes benefits to more than 140 former employees since 2014, despite commitments from the management to settle its debt.

In late September, a government delegation headed by Rep. Prince Tokpah, who heads the House of Representatives’ Committee on Agriculture, assured the aggrieved workers that it would intervene in their plight within two weeks.

However, Flomo said the government’s failure to address their concern prompted the latest protest. Margibi’s Superintendent Jerry Varnie later intervened in the protest and convinced the aggrieved activists to abandon their action. Varnie assured them that an amicable solution would follow discussions between the company and the government’s representatives.

Featured photo courtesy of Joe Benson Josiah

Emmanuel Degleh

Emmanuel has over a decade of experience working as a community radio broadcaster. He is the Margibi correspondent for the Liberia Broadcasting System and the Manager for Classic FM 93.9 MHz, one of Liberia’s leading community radio stations. Emmanuel is also a member of the Press Union of Liberia and a 2016 Internews Health Journalism Fellow.

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