About Seventy-six (76) redundant workers of Firestone-Liberia residing in Gazon Reserve, Division #16 are seeking for the intervention of the government of Liberia after they were layoff by the Firestone Management.
The redundant workers some of whom worked with the Company at its Rubber Wood department or factory in Division #16 were layoff by the Company recently due to what the Firestone Management described as a low sale in their product.
Speaking to The Monrovia Times in Division #16 over the weekend, the spokesperson of the former Firestone workers; Tommy Prett admitted that the Company is experiencing a low sale in its products but said it was their expectation that the Company could use other means to transfer them to other departments in order to keep them on job until things improve.
Mr. Prett narrated that it was surprising for them to note that the Management of Firestone which is the biggest Company in Liberia served them redundant letters.
According to him, that is the decision of the Company and they can’t do anything about it, but said their foremost concern is their benefits, thereby appealing to the Government of Liberia through Margibi County Senator Oscar A. Cooper to help them get their just benefits.
He stated that they (redundant workers) were assigned in various departments as sawyers, mechanics and electricians among many others. He disclosed that they worked for the Company for five years as contractors and worked for three years as employees totaling eight years.
Mr. Prett stated that the management of the Company has informed them that Firestone will not give them any benefit for the five years they served as contractors besides the three years which they served as employees.
“They are telling us that our contractor time we spent there is nothing for us besides the three years we spent which of course they are going to give us one month for each year, that’s our concern” he lamented.
He noted that at the time they were Contractors the Firestone Management did not redundant them instead kept them on contract up to the time of employment adding that their contract numbers were attached to their employment numbers and the Company has put them down that way.
Tommy Prett averred that it is the right of the Company to lay them off but their concern is their benefit thus appealing to the Liberian Government to intervene on their behave.
He wants the Firestone Management sees reasons to adjust their 3-year employment benefits with their contractor benefits even if all their Contractor years cannot be paid for, He urges the company to at least do an adjustment in their wages so it can help them tomorrow to be able to extend to another level.
Mr. Prett further indicated that the Management has said the Company will pay US$143 for each of the three months, which means one month for a year out of which the Company will deduct government tax and other taxes with each redundant worker taking home US$85 a month.
He explained that the Firestone Management has not also been able to give them housing allowances for the past one and the year. He intoned that the Company gave them slips for housing units that were not in good condition as such they did not move in those housing units because of their deplorable condition and the Management has not given their benefits.
Prett asserted that it was made known to them in the employment letters that the Company would serve them housing units that would be in good condition.
For other benefits, Mr. Prett said the management has given an option to all redundant workers who have their children attending the Company’s school system to either collect US$75 from the management for a child or take their children from the system.
Prett who said the Company has given them 15-days to leave complained that nobody will redundant an employee and ask him/her to leave within that period and leave his/her child/children behind and move to another area.
He appealed to the Firestone Management to allow their children who have already started school to end the semester and whatever benefit that will be given them will be used to send their children to another school.
Meanwhile, Margibi County Senator Oscar A. Cooper has begun probing into the issue to ensure that the redundant workers get their benefit according to the Labor Law of Liberia.
Senator Cooper told the affected workers at a meeting over the weekend that he cannot give them any assurance that they will be placed back on the job but said what he can do is to get a Lawyer who will give pieces of advice on the issues raised by them, stating that he has already contacted one.
The Senator disclosed that by Friday, September 14, 2018, he will get back to the affected workers to inform them of the outcome of his consultation with the Lawyer. He then called on the redundant workers to remain calm as he tries his best in making show the right thing is done.