Sinoe County – Golden Veroleum (Liberia) Inc. (GVL) has announced a reduction of about 440 employees from its workforce across its concession areas in Sinoe and Grand Kru Counties. The redundancy exercise cites the downturn of the global economy, including the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic happening globally and in Liberia, poor infrastructure causing the company to incur high logistics, vehicle and road maintenance costs and the slumping price of palm oil on the company’s operations, which have caused unsustainable losses, as the basis for reluctantly taking such measures. The workforce reduction took place in the second week of May 2020.
The number of employees to be made redundant constitutes about 10% of the company’s workforce. The company states that “the continued low crude palm oil prices, high overhead costs associated with the company’s concession agreement with the Government of Liberia, low production as a result of the company inability to expand due to a series of work stoppages, and the country’s uncertain business climate are the primary reasons for the continuing financial losses. These layoffs are the third such broad reductions since 2013.”
According to Mr. Elvis G. Morris, Vice President for Stakeholders and Sustainability, “Our employees are very important to us and making any change to our operations and employees is an incredibly difficult decision for our Management Team. We remain committed to the country and people of Liberia, and our main priority is to ensure the long-term sustainability of our operation.”
The company statement said employees who are affected by this current redundancy will be provided the appropriate severance packages in keeping with applicable laws of Liberia (Decent Work Act), and the company’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the Golden Veroleum (Liberia) Inc. Agriculture Workers Union of Liberia. The company further said it will continue to implement a number of other measures to cut costs in its operations, including streamlining of the company’s business functions to reduce expenses to improve operational efficiencies. GVL affirmed that when the company’s financial/economic status improves in future and warrants additional employment depending on the business operational requirement, employees who are affected by this redundancy may be prioritized for re-employment.
Golden Veroleum (Liberia) Inc. says it has injected millions of dollars into the Liberian economy through government taxes, salaries and, local purchases and, and has spent over USD$20 million in providing free education, healthcare, housing and security support at the local, county and national levels.