Days following their election, the new leadership of the Firestone Agricultural Workers Union has promised to adequately represent workers at the Firestone Rubber Plantation.
The Chairman-elect of the Union, Mr. Abel Ngigie in an interview with newsmen at his Harbel office recently, said his leadership will consistently engage the management of the Company on issues affecting the workers.
Mr. Ngigie disclosed that his first and foremost intervention will be to quickly negotiate with the management of Firestone to be able to increase the wages and salaries of the workers and improve their living condition among others.
“Gentlemen you guys will not believe this when you are driving through Firestone you look at those new units that Firestone has constructed you just think that all is well, but sometimes when you enter those houses you feel bad,” he told newsmen.
According to him, a good number of the contractors that build those housing units did not do well as the floors of some of those houses have all been mess up and gone while some are leaking.
He narrated that with those situations, his leadership will ask the management of the Company to go back on the drawing board to improve those houses that are considered by many to be new.
The FAWUL Boss, on the other hand, indicated that his leadership is going to open its eyes more than before and make sure it works with the Management of Firestone in identifying those areas that their people are crying on a daily basis promising to tackle the issue of bad labor practice everywhere in Firestone.
He said the issue of bad labor practice is one of the major areas that they are confronted with terming it as something that cannot be out of their spectrum or scope because Agricultural Farms in Liberia and the World at large carry on bad labor practices on their various plantations if they are not monitored carefully adding that Firestone-Liberia is of no exception.
“Let’s take for example the issue of the contractors, this morning a friend of mine came to congratulate me upon hearing that I have ascended to this position and he told me point blank that he has been a contractor for eight years, he is a plumber so my question now is when will this brother get employed and start to work on his retirement from this Company” he stated.
Mr. Ngigie at the same time revealed that the implementation of the decent work act is not working to the fullest in Firestone. He maintained that when the decent work act was passed, the portion that has to do with the US$5.50₵ was being quickly implemented by the Company, but the human right side which has to do with the Firestone Management taking contract and giving it to subcontractors who then hire another subcontractor hiring contractors is creating suffering for the people.
The new FAWUL Chairman noted that his leadership is going to monitor the process very keenly in making sure that anyone who works as a contractor has a direct link with the Union under the decent work act which provides for that.
Mr. Nigie meanwhile promised to empower the grievance office or the fifty-three workplace representatives to ensure that they work overtime to meet up with the demand of the workforce.
He, however, called on the over 5,000 due payers (employees) whom he said won the election to not say that’s the people’s thing but rather keep his office informed about issues confronting them and at the same time urged them to remain patient on the job because their negotiation is about to start.