The House of Representatives, through its Statutory Committee on Investment and Concessional Matters, has summoned the Management of Firestone Liberia.
The House’s action comes, amid growing tensions in Firestone concession area in Harbel, following the company’s notification of an eminent redundancy to affect more than 370 of its employees beginning July 26, 2020.
According to a press release, the Committee’s Head, Representative Tibelrosa Tarponweh, requested the August Body’s Secretariat to invite Firestone Liberia to provide the Legislature tangible reasons for her plan action.
The release quotes Representative Tarponweh as calling on the Workers, through their Union, to remain calm as the House of Representatives exerts efforts to remedy the situation.
The Lawmaker added that the reduction in the rubber plantation Company’s operational cost to sustain its viability cannot be done at the expense of Liberians in the employ of the Company.
The release further said Firestone Liberia Management, in a communication Monday, informed the Union that it plans to redundant 374 employees from the Estate Department, thus causing the current tension.
Meanwhile, the Agricultural Agro-processing Workers Union of Liberia (AAIWUL), has responded sharply to Firestone Liberia in the wake of the Company Management’s anticipated redundancy plan.
AAIWUL, the Mother Union of the Firestone Workforce, vowed that it will not accept any further redundancy actions in the name of reducing cost to sustain the rubber plantation company.
The Union believes the company is laying off employees just to re-hire them through a local tapping Contractors Institutions in Harbel.
It emphasized that the Company’s plan action is intended to reduce some of the company’s benefits due to employees as part of their immunities, including Housing, Medical and Education for workers dependents.
In April of 2019, Firestone Liberia redundant more than 800 employees from several departments, blaming its action on low production and drop in the price of rubber on the World Market.
But in reaction to the redundancy plan as claimed by workers of Firestone Liberia, the Company Management says it regularly evaluates all aspects of its business to ensure ongoing profitability and viability.
A release quotes the Management as saying communication with Firestone Liberia employees is a top priority for the Company and any changes to its operations or headcount would be communicated to them first.
The Rubber Plantation Company Management’s reaction is in response to claim by its Workers’ Union that Management had communicated with the Union informing them of its plan to redundant 374 employees from the Estate Department. Firestone is the largest rubber company in the world.