The Ministry of Labour has amicably resolved the stalemate between the management of Firestone Rubber Plantation and their worker’s union surrounding Rice and security.
It can be recorded on December 30, 2022, the workers of Firestone Liberia through their mother Union, the National Timber Wood Construction and Allied Workers Union of Liberia ( (NTWCAWU) wrote two separate communications to the Minister of Labour for timely intervention into the situation surrounding the supply of rice to the workers and lunch breaks for the security.
According to the communication sent to the Minister, the workers accused their management of increasing the cost of subsidy rice to workers in violation of the Collective Bargain Agreement (CBA).
Article 20 of the CBA, Rice Subsidy: states that “During the life of the CBA if there is a change in the prince of rice announced by Government, the parties to this Agreement (Union and Management) shall meet to negotiate but should not end in deadlock.
In its second communication, the union accused Firestone management of refusing to pay lunch breaks for the personnel of the Plant Protection Department (PPD) or the Security.
They issued a notice that by February 1, 2023, security personnels will start to take lunch break between 12:00 A. M.-1:00 P. M. on their own until the management can see reason to pay them lunch break or provide them lunch hours in line with the Decent Work Act of Liberia.
But in a social dialogue meeting held on Thursday, January 26, 2023, between the Management and Union of Firestone at the Ministry of Labour, Management agreed to deduct US$34 as the price for 50kg rice from each worker per month and to provide invoices for rice purchased to the Workers’ Union (NTWCAWU).
The Workers’ union also agreed to Minister Gibson’s appeal made to extend the notice to the Management of Firestone in the case involving the PPD Lunch break from February 1, 2023, to March 1, 2023, to enable the Ministry to find a solution.
Speaking at the end of the dialogue, Labour Minister Cllr. Charles H. Gibson welcomed the agreement reached between the parties and hoped that it would be achieved before the end of March 2023.
He encouraged both parties to present proposals whenever there are increments in the price of rice on the market and that invoices for rice purchased must be provided to the workers.
On the issue of the PPD, Minister Gibson said that claimed made by the securities are provided for under the Decent Work Act of Liberia and therefore they must be protected as per law.
He called on Firestone management to ensure that the contingency plan is effective in addressing the security lunch break issue.
The Minister said the security of Firestone is linked to national security and as such, he wants the Union to extend the deadline to March 1, 2023, as a way of the Ministry time for an intervention.
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