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House to look into mass dismissals at Firestone

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The House of Representatives has invited Labor Minister Moses Kollie to give the status of the 800 employees that are expected to be laid off by Firestone Liberia.

Minister Kollie’s invitation by the House of Representatives comes after Speaker Bhofal Chambers initially refused to amend the agenda to allow the House of Representatives to discuss issues surrounding a planned mass dismissals that is due to affect 800 Liberians from Firestone Liberia.
Two lawmakers from Margibi County where Firestone operates, Rep. Clarence G. Gahr (District #5) and Rep. Avar K. Jones (District #2) Margibi County had raised the issue, but ignored by Speaker Chambers.

According to Rep. Gahr, there are 800 employees of Firestone to be laid off, while also alerting that another company, Bea Mountain is also laying people off.

Besides Firestone and Bea Mountains, Rep. Gahr says other companies are also paying people off, warning Speaker Chambers that this a serious situation that needs to be looked at.

It is at this time of this warning that Speaker Chambers informs his colleagues that the leadership of Firestone was meeting with the Minister of State and key ministers in government.

He reveals that those in leadership have decided that the Minister of Labor will appear and update them as a body on Thursday and see the way forward.

Firestone Natural Rubber Company, an indirect subsidiary of Bridgestone Americas, Incorporated, on Monday, 18 March announced the reduction of its workforce by 13% (approximately 800 employees) by early second quarter of 2019 at the company’s Firestone-Liberia
operation.

Firestone in a release says this action is necessary due to continued and unsustainable losses resulting from high overhead costs associated with the company’s Concession Agreement with the Government of Liberia.

The company further cites low natural rubber production because of the country’s prolonged civil wars and continued low global natural rubber prices.

Firestone Liberia says it has been working closely with the Ministry of Labor and the Agricultural Agro-Processing and the Industrial Workers Union of Liberia (AAIWUL) to ensure that employees made
redundant as part of this action will be done so in accordance with all applicable Liberian labor laws, company policies, and the company’s collective bargaining agreement with AAIWUL.
By Bridgett Milton –Edited by Winston W. Parley

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