Labour Ministry Rejects Firestone Liberia’s Redundancy Plan

3
717
Firestone Liberia

— Ahead of July 26

Authorities of the Ministry of Labour have said it will not provide Firestone Liberia the guidance it needs to undertake its planned redundancy exercise.

The ministry said its stance against Firestone come as a result of the company’s failure to tell the ministry whether its proposed workforce cut is the “result of re-organization, transfer, discontinuance or reduction of business.”

According to Labour Minister Moses Y. Kollie, the Ministry took the decision based on the fact that section 13.4 (a) of the Decent Work Act, which states that: “change of business or ownership shall not be averred and shall not directly affect the terms of condition of employment of workers who continue to be employed in such a business and their contract of employment is deemed of all purposes to have to continue…”

“That which, we cannot un-do as a Ministry because that is the law,” the Minister said. “Also in section 14.5 (o) of the Decent Work Act, which clearly reads: ‘in the event that subsequent news of employment arises at a future date, the employer shall consider persons previously declared redundant for redeployment.'”

Min. Kollie added that, as things stand, the ministry is not going to “provide the guidance that the management of Firestone needs to affect the redundancy, except it is properly clarified.”

Earlier on June 24, 2020, the management of Firestone Liberia in a communication to the Ministry of Labour announced plans to further reduce their workforce by laying off 374 staffs on or before July 26, 2020.  However, in the letter, the company did not indicate the purpose of the planned workforce cut.

Similarly, in September of 2018, Minister Kollie noted, that Firestone Liberia sent a notice to the Ministry indicating that they were about to redundant 600 employees — a move the government requested to be done in phases.

The reason for this, Min. Kollie added, is that the government wanted the would-be redundant employees “be given first right of refusal.”

“This Government through the Ministry of Labour wishes to encourage Firestone to defer its intended action as mentioned in its recent communication in order to find an alternative to the termination of employees’ employment.

“And this is very serious because President George Weah is very concerned about this matter, especially where a company intends to carry on redundancy on the Independence Day of this Country — July 26,” he said.

Minister Kollie, however, believes that those to be made redundant should be considered for another opportunity. He encouraged Firestone to sit with “us as a government so that we can find the way forward and it should be a win-win situation.

“Our people cannot be losing jobs while we already have a huge health crisis, coping with global economic issues. We strongly believe that Firestone as a strong partner to this country will reconsider their decision.”

It can be recalled that Firestone Liberia in 2019 slashed its workforce by 800 employees, representing 13 percent of the total number of employees.

The company also said their decision was reached after a thorough and strategic review of its current operations, coupled with unsustainable losses resulting from high overhead costs associated with the company’s Concession Agreement with the Government of Liberia, low natural rubber production because of the country’s prolonged civil wars and continued low global natural rubber prices.

Authors

3 COMMENTS

  1. What does the labor minister depend on to reject or challenge Firestone’s decision? He depends on nothing, but an empty display of words to impress on the public that the so-called Government of Liberia is capable of doing something.

    Weah lacks, “Original thought.” Simply put, he is incapable of diversifying the nation’s economy with a goal of easing the pressure off the government as the sole employer of last resort and creating enough private sector jobs to grow the economy. His greatest pre-occupation right now is his re-election bid.

    After reading Wikipedia’s recent verdict that Ellen “…is the best president Liberia has ever had,” I have yet to garner the moral and intestinal fortitude to unreservedly join her bandwagon of assailants, who are incessantly stating that she did nothing for the country. Am I making her a saint? No, I am not because nobody is perfect; but, however, whenever I look at the prodigious failure of the present Weah’s god-sent administration, I become enervated, and I lack the moral courage to continue to criticize her.

  2. Mr. Labor Minister, why are you rejecting the redundancy plan of a company undergoing economic constraints? Are you willing to fill the salary gap?

    Look, we have all been students. In class, sometimes when a teacher comes with a surprise quiz and you know that you did not study the night before, you can “spy” or cheat from a friend to get a passing grade if the teacher is not looking at you.
    Nobody will deny this truth, unless you have never been a student. I spied in school too.

    COVID-19 is like a surprise quiz. We know Weah did not study his lessons the night before, and so all he had to do was to look at other people and spy from them to get a passing grade. But instead of him spying, he has been behaving like a “don” to pass whereas he’s green to the questions asked on the quiz.

    Didn’t Weah see the USA and the European Union pumping trillions of dollars in their economies to preserve jobs?
    Nearly all regional governments have either delay tax payments or given out low rate interest loans to companies or provided some kind of incentives to keep their economies open.

    Unlike our dear president, he decided to take a loan to buy food, give it to the WFP to be distributed to his partisans.
    The $30 million could have been pumped into the economy in the form of a loan or incentives to major companies like Firestone to keep the ball rolling, but you guys decided to burn it (unproductive loan).

    Based on which legal provisions do you refuse a company in a free market to lay off workers? You guys must be joking!

    Spying was the best solution for Weah!

Leave a Reply