Liberian Gov’t Negotiates Reduction of Rice Price For Firestone Workers…

Labour Minister Gibson in meeting with workers

The Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Labour has succeeded in negotiating a reduction in the price of rice for workers of the Firestone Rubber Plantation Company.

It can be recalled that in the last three months, disagreement has ensued between the Management of the Firestone Plantation and the workers represented by their Mother Union National Timer, Wood, Construction, and Allied Workers Union (NTWCAWUL), over the price of rice being issued to the workers.

Following a series of social dialogue meetings with the Ministry of Labour, Labour Minister Charles H. Gibson promised to lead a negotiation with the supplier of the rice “SWAT Inc.”

Addressing the worker’s representatives of various sections and departments of the company on Thursday, March 16, 2023, in Harbel, Firestone, Labour Minister Cllr. Charles H. Gibson informed the workers that the government has succeeded in negotiating the reduction of One United States Dollar from the price of rice being issued to the workers by management.

He said despite other costs named by the supplier to deliver the rice to Firestone including storage, SWAT has agreed to make the sacrifice to reduce the price by a dollar.

This means that the workers will now pay the price of USD$33.00 instead of USD$34.00 for 100-pound bag of rice.

Minister Gibson said the reduction will save workers over Eight Thousand United States Dollars (US 8,000.00) monthly and One Hundred Thousand United States Dollars (US 100,000.00) annually.

He said all efforts applied during the negotiation were in the interest of workers and is thankful that there is a soft landing for both sides in that management and workers’ leaders have welcomed the agreement.

The Liberia Labour Minister congratulated the workers of Firestone for advocating the interest of the members and the cordial relations with the Ministry of Labour.

Speaking further, Minister Gibson expressed thanks to trade unions in Liberia for keeping the labor market peaceful noting that it is due to the policy of the Government of Liberia that there hasn’t been any major labor unrest in the country.

He spoke of efforts being made by the Ministry of labor to improve the labor sector including the provision of logistics to ensure the inspection of all workplaces for the promotion of safety at work and decent work.

He also assured workers that the Government of President George M. Weah does not take the interest of workers lightly and as such he will do all to ensure that the rights of workers and employers are protected.

Meanwhile, both the Management of the Firestone and the Workers’ Union welcomed the intervention from the Government in the reduction of the price of rice for workers and hailed Minister Gibson for his interventions and promotion of peace at the plantation.

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