Firestone Liberia Sets Record Straight On ‘Forceful Eviction’

Following claims by some former employees of Firestone Liberia that they were been illegally dismissed by that company during an exclusive interview with GNN-Liberia few weeks ago, the management has reacted to that report.

In a press statement emailed to this online news outlet, the Firestone Liberia said, the article published by the GNN-Liberia ‘contained numerous errors and inaccuracies’, and said, ‘Firestone Liberia would like to set the records straight and ask Global News Network to take appropriate action to rectify the situation’.

The press statement said ‘Firestone Liberia has been undergoing a significant business analysis to better align our cost structure with revenue generated by the operation. Part of that effort includes the realignment of certain business units to enhance efficiencies and reduce costs. As a result of the process, certain jobs in our operation are being restructured, and regrettably it has been necessary to eliminate some positions’.

‘Firestone Liberia makes certain that all impacted employees are provided with a separation package that is fair, including compensation for each year of service in keeping with the laws of Liberia. The package also allows a separated employee to remain in Firestone Liberia company housing for up to 15 days after separation, as detailed in our housing policy and collective bargaining agreement’.

‘Children of employees who are separated from the company for any reason may remain in school until the school year is completed. If a child is in the 11th grade, he or she will be allowed to remain in the Firestone Liberia School System until graduation from 12th grade’.

Contrary to erroneous reporting that “many of the schools have been closed,” one school at Firestone Liberia was closed due to the movement of employees within the concession. A new school will be opening in its place’.

Reacting further, Firestone Liberia also said, on the dismissal of over 200 employees’ the company said the actual number of employees separated from the company is less than 30. Additionally, Firestone Liberia currently employs 27 expatriates from over 8 countries. The article inaccurately reports that the company employs “a huge number of Malaysians.”

Decisions that impact our employees are always difficult, and we make them only after careful consideration of what is best for the future of the company and our employees. The actions being taken now are an effort to help ensure that our company can continue to operate in Liberia and we can continue to provide employment, housing, medical care and schooling for thousands of Firestone Liberia employees well into the future.

The decline in rubber production due to lack of planting during the war, unprecedented record low natural rubber prices, and increasing operating costs are very real challenges facing our company. These and other factors are driving many of the changes currently taking place in our operation.

In view of the above facts, the Management of Firestone Liberia said it is respectfully requesting GNN to publish their reaction and set the record straight. Representatives from Firestone Liberia are available to answer any questions you may have or clarify any of the aforementioned facts if necessary, the statement noted.

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