The Management of Firestone Liberia and the Firestone Agricultural Workers’ Union of Liberia (FAWUL) have signed a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) covering the period of February 1, 2017, to December 31, 2018. The signing ceremony followed more than one year of negotiations between management and the workers’ union, a release from the company has said.
At the signing ceremony on Tuesday, January 31, Winleta Aynn Henries, Firestone-Liberia Human Resources and Social Services Director, described the new agreement as “momentous,” it being the first agreement following the enactment of Liberia’s Decent Work Act. Henries praised negotiation representatives of both Firestone Liberia and FAWUL for the considerable investment of time and effort in reaching the agreement.
“This has truly been a noble endeavor. In the future, this document will provide valuable guidelines for a collective approach to decent work and also a basis for mutual understanding,” said Henries.
Following the signing of the new CBA, Edmundo L. Garcia, president and managing director of Firestone-Liberia, praised the efforts of both the employees and management for working together to arrive at the new agreement.
Garcia added, “We all should be very proud of what we have accomplished together here today.”
He also expressed the hope that through mutual understanding and respect, employees and management will not only survive the current business challenges, but continue working together.
Harris Kerkula, who spoke on behalf of FAWUL, thanked the management for working diligently with union leadership to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. Kerkula acknowledged that there were challenges during the negotiation as a result of continued low natural rubber prices and low production. He also congratulated the union’s negotiation team members for their tireless efforts in achieving a mutually beneficial CBA.
Emmet Crayton, Assistant Labor Minister, thanked both parties on behalf of the Minister Neto Zarzar for reaching the agreement.
Crayton then stressed the importance of continued communications between both parties so that every employee understands the new agreement.
He called for the continuation of positive working relationship between the management and the union, saying, “Along with the Ministry of Labor, we all are tripartite members in the new agreement.”
Abraham D. Nimene, Deputy Education Director for Labor Congress, commended both parties for reaching a mutual agreement at the time the Decent Work Act has been enacted into law.
“This bargaining agreement is the first to spring from the Decent Work Act,” Nimene said, adding that the success of the CBA will be measurable by the both the works and management commitment.
The ceremony was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Labor, Liberia Labor Congress, Firestone Liberia and FAWUL leaderships, as well as a number of employees including shop stewards and managers.