The Arcelor Mittal Liberia management has been urged by the country’s minister of labor to explore the local labor market before inviting foreign personnel to work for the company there. Minister Charles Gibson pointed out that the company didn’t need to hire laborers for carpentry, masonry, and other local jobs that Liberians are competent to perform in the nation in order to pay foreign workers enormous salaries and pay the Liberian less salary that cannot accommodate them or feel their family on the same job.
During a conversation with Arcelor Mittal’s CEO, Josephus Coenen, in Congo Town over the weekend, Minister Gibson made a statement. He urged the Chief Executive Officer of the company to review the concession agreement that had been signed between the Liberian government and Arcelor Mittal Liberia, particularly where it stated that after eight years of business, 30% of Liberian employees would hold top managerial positions, and after 15 years, 70% of Liberians would hold those positions. Minister Gibson emphasized that the concession agreement was breached by the corporation, depriving Liberians of the chance to serve in the areas specified therein.
Minister Gibson claims that under specific terms of the concession agreement, Liberian should be permitted to hold some top posts, but Arcelor Mittal has not yet been able to place its trust in Liberians to hold those top positions. The management of Arcelor Mittal was criticized by Minister Gibson for not doing more to increase safety in the company’s operational locations. In comparison to many other nations where the company conducts business, he claimed, Arcelor Mittal’s capacity for safety in Liberia is quite poor.
The minister expressed sadness that Liberia was not included in the business’s global report on workplace safety, which left the employees without assurances regarding their safety while employed by the corporation.
The Labour Minister warned Arcelor Mittal’s management to move the housing unit project along quickly. However, he urged the corporation to utilize local contractors rather than foreign workers since it will take a long time for Liberians who will be working alongside them to pick up their skills. He said he will be happy to see materials on the ground for the project’s execution.
Jozephus Coenen, the chief executive officer of Arcelor Mittal, responded by outlining steps to raise industrial health and safety standards at the company’s operational location in Liberia. Regarding the follow-ups and measures from his prior meeting with the minister, Mr. Coenen gave helpful updates. He explained to the minister that the company’s commitment to increasing Liberians’ employment possibilities and its plans to increase the availability of suitable housing for workers in the concession area. He said the company is making great efforts to raise safety standards in order to achieve ISO45001 in order to protect workers from harm. This includes changing employee behavior as well as investing in new technology and improving communications systems.
An international standard for health and safety at work called ISO 45001 was created by independent national and international standards groups. Additionally, the CEO of Arcelor Mittal gave the minister assurances that the company was properly adhering to its employment requirements under the Mineral Development Agreement. Six out of the nine heads of departments (senior management) at AML were Liberians, he told the minister. He offered to continue giving Liberians preference for employment at all levels and to take up the minister’s concerns on the actions of some of its contractors.
Reported by: Augustine Octavius