Margibi County District # 2 lawmaker, Ivar Jones, has sent a letter to the Plenary of the House of Representatives to invite the management of Firestone- Liberia, calling for a probe of the giant rubber corporation over a memorandum concerning its retirees.
In his communication on Thursday, Rep. Jones (independent) informed his colleagues that the company posted a memo on December 17, stating it will transfer pensioners to the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP) as of March 1 –something the lawmaker rejects.
He said the Legislative Caucus of Margibi County has been informed by the leadership of Firestone Agriculture Workers Union of Liberia (FAWUL) about the company’s alleged plan, and when the caucus contacted the company as to what was their reliance of transferring pensioners to NASSCORP, he added, “the management told us that that their reliance is Chapter 22 .1 of the Decent Work Act.”
According to Rep. Jones, this chapter does not apply to an employer who is or becomes required to fulfill to comparable obligation under a pension scheme administered by NASSCORP under the National Social Security and welfare Law as amended.
He called the Firestone plan grave and needs serious attention by the Legislature and all others concerned.
Moreover, upon receipt of the communication from FAWUL and subsequent talks with Firestone, Jones said he immediately communicated with NASSCORP, inquiring the legal reliance of said memo.
“However, NASSCORP said up to date there has been no legal document concluded between the two institutions regarding the transfer of the administrative aspect of the program, and that when they conclude any such arrangement, they will administer Firestone-Liberia’s retirement pension scheme,” he added.
The petitioner lawmaker emphasized: “Mr. Speaker, up to present NASSCORP still maintains that no legal arrangement has been concluded between it and Firestone relative to the memo, but I continue to receive calls from both retirees and employees that the Firestone management’s action to transfer its retirement and pension program to NASSCORP is expected to be effective from the 1st of March.”
Firestone has been operating in Liberia since 1926, and considering the number of people who have worked for the company and retired, transferring the beneficiaries to NASSCORP will be stressful and painful for Liberians for beneficiaries and they might not be treated fairly in the process, the lawmaker said.
Nonetheless, the Liberia News Agency has yet to independently verify the claims made by FAWUL through their lawmaker, Jones.