ArcelorMittal Liberia signs Collective Bargaining Agreement with Workers' Union
On August 31st 2012, ArcelorMittal Liberia and the United Workers' Union of Liberia signed the company's first Collective Bargaining Agreement, aimed at establishing a formal structure for regulating all aspects of the company and its employees' relationship.
Highlights of this agreement include:
Salary increase to be backdated from April 1st 2012
Enhanced employee benefits, such as an increase in maternity, paternity and annual leaves
Variable bonus to be introduced in January 2013, based on performance including safety
The establishment of a joint health and safety committee
The establishment of a joint ArcelorMittal Liberia management and union committee
Peace obligation binding the management and union to follow requisite procedures to ensure all disputes is resolved internally, at the lowest levels
Mr Lourens Duplessis head of human resources at ArcelorMittal Liberia said that "We were functioning with an interim agreement that did not meet the requirements for providing all the necessary structures, policies and procedures to assist in managing the relationship. The Collective Bargaining Agreement assists greatly in providing the mechanisms conducive to a positive working relationship."
Mr Rajesh Goel CEO of ArcelorMittal Liberia said that "We are very pleased that management and workers have negotiated this agreement after intense negotiations. Arriving at this stage of signing of the CBA took nine long months; however, it is commendable that both sides displayed exemplary patience, maturity, perseverance, mutual respect and understanding to continue the discussion, maintaining an environment of cordiality and camaraderie. My heartiest congratulations and thanks to the workers, management representatives, national general secretary of UWUL and the Labour Ministry. Both sides are now ready to work together to achieve good operating results for the company."
The negotiations between ArcelorMittal’s management and the Worker's Union executives, launched in November 2011, were held in Monrovia, Yekepa, and Buchanan, with an agreement finally reached on August 11th 2012.
Mr Chea Romeo Brookes, head of ArcelorMittal Liberia's Workers' Union, said that "It is a fair deal and should be used as a hallmark for other companies that will be investing in our country."
He singled out the progression of wages as the best part of the deal but emphasized that it must be enforced by the management, employees and the Government of Liberia.
For Liberia, this is the second major CBA signing by an investor, and many see such agreements as major contributors to the general economic growth and wellbeing of the country.
Mr Natty B Davis chairman of the National Investment Commission said that "You are a model for negotiation in the workplace. You are a shining example to all. It takes responsible management and employees to achieve this objective."
Source - ArcelorMittal