FERONIA ANNOUNCES SIGNING OF NEW COLLECTIVE AGREEMENT
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Nov. 14, 2014) - Feronia Inc. ("Feronia" or the "Company") (TSX VENTURE:FRN) is pleased to announce that a new Collective Agreement has been signed with the six unions which represent the over 3,600 employees of its palm oil business in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Plantations et Huileries du Congo SA (PHC).
The formal negotiation commenced in October and was the culmination of several months of preparation, consultation, and preliminary discussions amongst the Company, the representatives of the six unions and their members. The negotiation process focused on achieving common ground on pay, benefits and general terms of employment for both the immediate future and longer term.
The following is the joint statement issued yesterday by Feronia and the six unions which represent the employees of PHC. following the successful conclusion of the negotiations and signing of the new collective agreement:
We are pleased to confirm the completion of formal negotiations to update the Collective Agreement.
These negotiations have been characterized by a strong sense of common purpose. All parties acknowledge the progress the business has made since Feronia acquired PHC in 2009 and the extensive rehabilitation of company operations to date. The willingness of all parties to work together has been a critical factor in progress up to this point and will continue to be an important factor as we strive towards the collective goal of building a sustainable, commercially viable business which secures member and employee livelihoods in the long-term.
As the Company enters a new phase in its development, all parties recognise that improvements to pay, benefits and general terms of employment are needed and it is against this backdrop that a number of revisions to the Collective Agreement, including increases in pay from 1 January 2015, have been agreed.
These revisions represent an ongoing commitment by Feronia to the improvement of pay, benefits and social infrastructure as the operational performance of the Company improves.
All parties are committed to working together to ensure the longevity of this business and restoring it to its former prominence in the fundamental interest of its employees, its communities, its shareholders, and the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Commenting on the conclusion of the negotiations, Raymond Batanga, Chief Operating Officer of Feronia said:
"When Feronia acquired the business from Unilever in 2009, the plantations and their infrastructure were in a state of distress after years of underinvestment and disruption caused by the war. Feronia made a commitment then to honour the existing workforce's contracts, pay all retirement benefits, make no redundancies, and make the necessary long-term investments to return the business to profitability. In return, our employees, and the six unions that represent them, have shown great loyalty and together we have made considerable progress in establishing a commercially viable business able to secure employment, provide benefits to our communities, and help improve the food security of the DRC for years to come.
"Feronia is committed to continuously improving pay, benefits and conditions as its operational performance improves and we look forward to a continued partnership with the unions as we work to rebuild the business and our social infrastructure."
About Feronia Inc.
- Feronia Inc. is a large-scale commercial farmland and plantation operator in the Democratic Republic of the Congo ("DRC")
- The Company uses modern agricultural practices to operate and develop its oil palm plantations and arable farming business division
- Feronia believes in the immense agricultural potential of the DRC for high-quality foodstuffs and edible oils given its ideal climate, excellent soil and highly skilled and experienced workforce
- Feronia's management team is comprised of senior agriculturalists with extensive experience in managing both plantations and large-scale mechanized farming operations in emerging markets
- Feronia is committed to sustainable agriculture, environmental protection and providing support for local communities
- For more information please see www.feronia.com
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