Labour Minister Wraps Up Three-Tier Engagement With  Sierra Tropical Ltd Stakeholders

By Jonathan Hindolo Kurabu

In a recent development, the Minister of Labour, Employment, and Social Security, Mohamed Rahman Swaray, has wrapped up an extensive three-tier engagement with stakeholders, aggrieved staff  and Management of Sierra Tropical Limited, a significant multi-million dollar investment in pineapple production located in Sumbuya, Lugbu Chiefdom, Bo District. This critical dialogue sought to address the recent industrial unrest involving workers of Sierra Tropical Limited.

Accompanied by a distinguished delegation, which included Dr. Denise Sandi, Minister of Works and Public Assets, Alfred Moi Jamiru, Deputy Minister of Local Government, and Mohamed E.K. Allie, Resident Minister South, Minister Swaray first engaged with traditional authorities to determine the root causes of the ongoing labor issues in the Chiefdom.

Paramount Chief of Lugbu Chiefdom, PC Mensa Badara Nallo, expressed gratitude for the delegation’s visit and vehemently denied allegations of cannibalism stories circulating in connection with the unrest. He also shared information regarding a missing person whose whereabouts remained unknown.

Minister Mohamed Rahman Swaray, also the leader of the delegation, reiterated President Bio’s commitment to generating 500,000 new jobs for the youth within the next five years and emphasized the need to protect investments and promote economic growth for job opportunities. He stressed the Government’s determination to attract viable investments and called for peace and stability.

During discussions with the disgruntled workers, they brought up numerous grievances, including mistreatment by foreign experts, non-compliance with NASSIT obligations, lack of training for local staff, interrupted lunch breaks, unpaid overtime and incentives, unfair dismissals, suppression of freedom of expression and violations of labor laws.

Kwame Wiafe, the Managing Director of Sierra Tropical Limited (DOLE), denied some of these allegations but acknowledged disrespectful statements made by certain foreign experts that had led to their repatriation. He pledged the company’s commitment to complying with labor laws and community regulations. He also appealed for the safety and protection of foreign nationals who felt threatened by the recent labor disputes, which disrupted company operations and blocked roads, causing concerns for expatriate staff who had come to contribute to the country’s development.

Sierra Tropical Limited, according to Wiafe, employs a significant number of foreign experts and provides employment for over 1,975 local residents in Lugbu Chiefdom and beyond. The company also expressed its commitment to enhancing the skills of its local workforce.

Minister Mohamed Rahman Swaray reassured the Managing Director of the safety and security of foreign staff and reaffirmed President Bio’s commitment to protecting foreign investments and creating multiple job opportunities, thereby addressing the issue of youth unemployment, which is considered a national threat.

Dr. Denise Sandi, the Minister of Works and Public Assets, disclosed plans for the construction of the Sumbuya-Koribondo road, a 67-kilometer project with a budget of $30 million, set to commence in November 2023. The construction of this road is expected to bring significant development to the area and improve the lives of local residents.

Sierra Tropical Limited is the largest foreign investment in the country, specializing in pineapple cultivation and the processing of pineapple juice concentrate and tidbits. This engagement represents a crucial step towards resolving the labor issues and promoting a harmonious working environment in this vital industry.


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