SRC Workers Set Company’s Properties Ablaze; Demand Better Working Conditions

By: Jeremiah Sackie Cooper

Margibi County, Liberia – Over 500 tappers, including employees and contractors at the Salala Rubber Corporation (SRC) in Margibi County, have launched an indefinite protest, destroying several properties at the company.

According to the aggrieved workers, their actions are triggered by the alleged exploitation and poor labor practices by the management of SRC.

The aggrieved workers disclosed that they have 13 counts against the company.

The 13 counts document presented by the aggrieved SRC workers outlined their demands.

Among these are immediate renovations to the deplorable housing facilities on the plantation.

Additionally, they seek proper medical treatment for workers and reimbursement of medical expenses incurred during illness. The workers also called for subsidized rice prices and transportation options for those residing outside the plantation premises.

The situation escalated early Thursday Morning when the company manager refused to sign the agreement reached during the discussion.

In response, the workers set the manager’s house and car ablaze, along with the HR office in the administrative building.

A warehouse containing rice was also looted during the protest. The Liberia National Police have arrested an unspecified number of protesters, while others remain on the run.

This ongoing labor dispute highlights the urgent need for improved working conditions and fair treatment for plantation workers in Liberia.

So far, the SRC management has not reacted on the matter.

The Salala Rubber Corporation has been involved into several controversies, ranging from the sale of the company amid legal battle with local communities allegedly affected by the company’s operations.

In its 2023 annual report, Socfin, the parent company of SRC, disclosed that the rubber company was deemed impaired, valuing this impairment at 7.5 million euros and reclassifying the plantation as an asset for sale.

The report quotes ‘’As at 31 December 2023, the carrying amounts of the assets classified as held for sale and related liabilities are attributable to SRC. In the last quarter of 2023, the management of Socfin conducted negotiations on the disposal of SRC. Accordingly, SRC was reclassified as a disposal as at 31 December 2023. The transaction is subject to local regulatory approval and is expected to close in the first half of 2024’’.

However, since the announcement by Socfin, local communities affected by the alleged expansion of the SRC plantation has been frustrated over the company refusal to wait for the outcome of ongoing court case filed against the company by the affected communities through Green Advocates International, a human and environmental rights organization.

SRC has been in legal battle with the affected communities for land grabbing, destruction of cultural sites and sexual and gender base violence since 2018.

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