In the wake of the ongoing proposed plan by Firestone Liberia management to lay off 13% of its employees due to several reasons, the president of the Agricultural Agro Processing and Industrial Workers Union of Liberia ( (AAIWUL), Abraham Nimene has sounded a strong warning to national government to help address the current situation at Firestone before it blows out of propulsion.
According to him, the decision taken by the giant rubber plantation company was not conclusive as such; it is very serious, risky and critical especially with the already crippled economy of Liberia, noting that practical steps are needed to be taken by all necessary parties involved to settle the issue.
He said ” AAIWUL” best and only interest is to ensure that all their members are working.
“We will not compromise the interest of our people, neither will we sign any document or negotiation against the will of the workers, our position is clear. Let our people go to work and remain at their respective job sites,” he indicated.
The AAIWUL boss pointed out that though they recognize and are aware that redundancy is carryout regularly and at the same time during said process employment can also be provided, but he also stated that the current situation is not timely.
He said if no action is taken from national government to resolve the issue, it will spill over as thousands of people he will be affected.
At the same time, the Secretary General of the AAIWUL, Edwin Cisco recommends diversification as the best way aimed at improving the sector.
Cisco encouraged all partners in the sector to get fully involved to help transform it for the betterment of the country.
He named: Cocoa, Coffee, Rice and many others as new areas that should be massively explored by farmers to help contribute immensely to the sector.
Cisco said if there were diversification in the sector of which Firestone has been craving for, the present situation wouldn’t have come out because some of the workers due to the drop-in rubber price would have been sent to other parts of the area to continue their farming activities.
Meanwhile, the government of Liberia through the Labour Ministry is said to be working out modalities to find a suitable solution into the matter.
Currently the news from the firestone management to redundant about 800 people in the next quarter of its operations has so far created more debates, mixed views, claims and counter claims all in the interest of addressing the issue for the common good of the workforce especially the struggling economy. Contributed by Julius Konton