Bong County Flag
China Union Lays Off 104 More Workers
By Philip T. Singbah, LINA Bong County Correspondent
GBARNGA, January 9 (LINA) - China Union iron ore mining company has laid off an additional 104 employees in Fuamah District, Bong County.
The company whose investment is worth US$ 2.6 billion is struggling to remain afloat due to the unfavorable climate on the global iron ore market.
China Union has blamed its misfortunes on the downward trend of the price of iron ore, which in December 2015 dropped to 30 percent of its December 2011 price.
The Chinese company has faced severe losses as a result.
Since 2015, it has cut mining operations and has been shedding its workforce.
In a recent press release, China Union Chief Executive Officer Zhi Xiang Li said the iron ore industry is facing a bad climate that has changed from “winter to freezing.”
In the middle of 2016, China Union laid off about 180 employees and turned over the Bong Mines Hospital to the Liberian Government.
As part of a 25-year Mineral Development Agreement with the Liberian government, China Union was responsible to operate the Bong Mines Hospital, which is the only referral hospital in lower Bong County.
China Union is mining iron ore in the Bong range mountain in lower Bong County. Its operations are based in Fuamah, Sanoyea and parts of Salala Districts.
Some of the dismissed employees, who spoke to the Liberia News Agency recently, accused the company of failing to live up to the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) signed in 2015, calling for an increase in salary of employees 60 days after the signing of the CBA which the company is yet to do.
The employees are, therefore, demanding that the money owed them by the company be included in their layoff packages.
When contacted, China Union Public Relations Officer, Morris Taye, said further discussions were ongoing among senior staff of the company to find an amicable solution to the situation.