Liberis: Firestone’s Redundant Workers’ Children to Remain in School Following Lawmakers’ Intervention

Reps. Tibelrosa S. Tarponweh (left) and Ivar K. Jones (right) have taken measure to allow over 300 students whose parents were laid off by Firestone Liberia to end the school year

Monrovia – About 300 students whose parents were laid off by Firestone Rubber Company will have the opportunity to complete the current academic year following interventions of two lawmakers of the county.

Report by Gerald C. Koinyeneh, [email protected]

Representatives Tibelrosa S. Tarponweh (Margibi County District #1) and Ivar K. Jones (Margibi County District #2).

According to Tarponweh and Jones, Firestone Liberia gave the redundant employees, whose children are attending the company’s schools, as an extra benefit of US$75.00 per student as an option to relocate their children.

Parents who opted for their children to remain in school to complete the academic year were not given the extra benefit.

However, the lawmakers, addressing a team of reporters at the Capito,l noted that parents of more than 300 students received the extra benefit from the company but failed to take their children from the school.

Knowing fully well that the children will be thrown out, the two lawmakers revealed that they have guaranteed the repayment of the money to Firestone Liberia’s Management to allow the students remain in school since there is only one more period left for the academic year to end.

“I believe the parents’ action wasn’t right but we have only one period- the sixth period, and with that where do you expect the parents to carry their children? So, we went and appeal to the management but management said it doesn’t want to set a bad precedent. On this note Hon. Tarponweh and I, Ivar K. Jones were able to do a communication to the management guaranteeing the repayment of the money,” Rep. Jones explained to reporters.

Rep. Tarponweh added: “Redundancy itself is painful. That doesn’t mean it was a good idea like Hon. Jones said. We frowned on it. The parents did not seek the best interest of the children. But before we became Representatives, we are parents. We don’t want to contribute to the delinquency of our children. So, we were constrained, based upon all the circumstances that we should come in and see to it that our kids return to school.”  

In the communication to Firestone’s management, a copy in the possession of this paper, the lawmakers stated: “As Representatives of the people, we are fully aware that receiving such amount would automatically put the children out of school, especially almost at the end of the school year, this leaves us with no option but to intervene on their behalf.”

They continued: “Since we are parents before being elected Representatives, we write through this medium committing ourselves to guarantee full settlement of monies their parents received from the company. We, therefore, request that you kindly allow the children back in school to complete the necessary academic requirements for their respective classes, while modalities are being worked out with your finance office to arrange the repayment.”

There have been growing concerns over the fate of dozens of students attending the company’s schools whose parents are being laid off by the company.

Recently, a child rights advocacy group, Kids Development Initiative (KDI) expressed concerned over the fate of hundreds of children. The group said it will be affected if the company lays off over 800 of its workforce.

The Founder and Executive Director of KDI, Saykwayee Harmony Henry called on the company to reconsider its decision of laying off a huge portion of its workforce. She noted that the exercise will not only affect the workers but hundreds of children who are benefitting from the company’s facilities including schools and hospitals.

“We believe that when these workers are downsized, their kids will also have to leave all of the facilities of Firestone including the education and health facilities. This is a very sad moment for us all as children and as Liberians,” lamented Ms. Henry.