Salala Rubber Reaffirms Ban on Politics

WEALA, Margibi – The management of the Salala Rubber Corporation has reaffirmed its ban on all political activities, including rallies and meetings, on the premises.

The company has warned all employees and visitors to adhere to the policy.

A joint Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the workers union, the staff association, and the company’s management on March 17, 2017, giving the company the authority to implement the ban. However, the MOU did not explain why the decision was being taken in this election year when workers were allowed to hold political events in the previous election years of 2005, 2011, and 2014.

The MOU did say that the company wanted to be focused on its primary responsibility as a business entity and not serve as a conduit for political activity.

“The company adheres to a very strict policy of no political activities, such as meetings and rallies at any of its labor camps and worksites,” the MOU read. “Owing to the fact that SRC is a business entity, it wishes to remain neutral, and steer clear of any political affiliation that will undoubtedly affect its operations in Liberia.”

The MOU means that politicians will not be allowed to campaign to the hundreds of eligible voters working and residing within the company’s eight labor camps.

Some employees have termed the decision as “undemocratic” and say it could deny workers of their constitutional right to associate politically.

Romeo Bondo, youth chairman of Cinta Township in Konoquelleh Clan, said on a local radio station that he wanted the management to create a more conducive political atmosphere.

“It is laughable that the company will deny Liberians from their freedom to political acidities,” he said. “How will the people know who to vote for if they don’t have access to the candidates?”

Peter Bahn, another employee, blamed the workers union’s leadership for being careless with the workers’ rights.

“The workers union’s leadership should not have signed such an MOU; it just tells us how they have been compromising the workers’ interest,” Bahn said.

Another worker, James Moore, said the MOU violates employees’ constitutional right to assemble and participate in politics.

The practice of banning politics at a workplace is also being observed by the Armed Forces of Liberia, which has advised candidates to keep political activities off military barracks.

Featured photo by Emmanuel Degleh

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 currently the acting president of the Margibi Journalist Association. Emmanuel is also a member of the Press Union of Liberia and a 2016 Internews Health Journalism Fellow.

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