Liberia: House of Representatives Summons Firestone over Imminent Sacking of 374 Employees on July 26


Capitol Hill, Monrovia – Amid Firestone Liberia’s anticipated decision to lay off 374 employees on July 26, the Independence Day of Liberia, the House of Representatives has invited the company’s management to give substantive reasons about its planed actions.

Plenary of the House also cited the Ministries of Justice and Labor to appear along with firestone on Tuesday, July 14, 2020 at 10:A.M.

Plenary’s decision stems from a motion proffered by Representative Jeremiah Koung (District #1, Nimba County) on a communication written by the Chairman of the House’s Statutory Committee on Investment & Concessions Rep. Tibelrosa Tarponeweh (District #1, Margibi County), calling for an intervention into the “worrying situation.”

Firestone says the decision to slash 374 employees from the Estates Department effective was due to the numerous challenges the company’s operation is facing in Liberia.

Rep. Tarponweh and the Committee, along with the Margibi County Legislative Caucus had earlier met the company’s top managers on Monday but it appeared that the parties failed to find a mitigating solution.

The company told the committee that it has contracted private firms to operate some of the estates and as such, it was not in the position to employ and underwrite all of the estate workers’ benefits such as health and education.

Speaking on the floor, several lawmakers expressed their dissatisfaction over the company’s planned decision. Rep. Tarponweh said the company export all of its resources out of Liberia, and the most important benefits Liberia gets in return is the employment of its citizens.

“If you carry out of the country everything that you get and the only benefit is our people, than we ought to intervene to stop this dubious act,” he urged plenary.

Representatives George E. Bolley of Grand Gedeh County, Mariamu Fofana and Clarence massaquoi of Lofa County all joined the Rep, Tarponweh and members of the Margibi County’s Legislative Caucus in speaking against the company’s planned decision.

In a statement issued prior to the meeting, Representative Tarponweh said it is unfortunate to see Firestone lay-off some of their employees in the face of the rampaging COVID-19 global Pandemic which is negatively impacting the national economy.

Representative Tarponweh further lamented that it is not in the best interest of the Firestone management to abruptly announce a redundancy scheme without consulting the relevant government agencies or authorities, including the Liberia Legislature.

In expressing his frustration over the Management’s decision, Representative Tarponweh said “Reducing cost to protect the long-term viability of the company cannot be done at an undue expense of our people.

“In concert with its oversight responsibility to intervene and investigate national Investment and concessional matters, the House of Representatives’ Statutory Committee on Investment and Concessions hereby encourages all parties (Firestone Liberia and its Employees) to remain calm as the Committee is exerting all efforts to engage relevant authorities so as to respect and preserve the rights of all.”