Representative Chambers’ concern was contained in a communication addressed to House Speaker Alex Tyler on July 1, 2016 in which it highlighted the worsening plight of retirees of the Firestone Rubber Plantation, along with all other Firestone retirees before 2006, due to the huge deduction in benefits.
Dr. Chambers in his communication averred that the Liberian Government is allegedly aware of the rubber company’s action, therefore he is requesting the indulgence of the House to invite the Ministers of Finance, Justice and State for Presidential Affairs to explain circumstances surrounding the matter so as to find an alternative pleasing to the retirees.
He quoted a report that Government is conscious about the reduction in Firestone’s retirees’ benefits and there is a need for Government and the Company to justify the action.
According to some of the retirees, their benefits have been reduced at the detriment of their survival and all efforts have been made to resolve the matter amicably but there have been no fruitful response from the rubber company’s management.
The retirees through their spokesperson George Daniel said they have written several letters to Firestone requesting audience with management but to no avail.
Mr. Daniel said some of them received USD$60.00 per month, while others are receiving lesser amount. So, if you deduct 37.5% from this amount, he wonders what would be left for them to take home to their families.
When quizzed whether they have ever reported the matter to the Ministry of Labour for redress, Mr. Daniel said on many occasions they approached the Ministry and they were promised that the matter would be investigated.
They described Firestone management’s action as “inhumane” and urged the National Legislature to assist them by prevailing on the company to pay their 37.5% they have been cutting from them since 2006.
They thanked Maryland County Representative Dr. Chambers for his timely intervention on their behalf and appealed to the Speaker and members of the House to see reason and ensure that Firestone stops cutting their benefits.
The Labour Ministry official responsible for such matter, Timothy Koon, said although they have heard about the reduction as a rumor, they have not been officially informed by the aggrieved retirees.
Firestone Public Relations Manager Rufus Karmo through mobile phone said management will response to the allegation at an appropriate time, and made no further comments on the matter.