Decent Work Act Misinterpreted, FAWUL Leadership Discloses

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The Chairman of the Firestone Agricultural Workers’ Union of Liberia (FAWUL), Rodennick M. Bongorlee, has disclosed that the Decent Work Act has been misterpreted on several occasions by their employer Firestone, Liberia Inc.

Speaking in an interview with him at his FAWUL office in Harbel Firestone, Mr. Bongorlee said there is a complete contradiction when it comes to the retirement of workers by the management of Firestone.

The FAWUL chairman explained that the retirement of employees is the sole responsibility of Firestone Management to pay any worker who has been retired by the company until their death according to the decent worker act but Firestone management is now shayin away from that responsibility and pushing it on the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation which is not the responsibility of NASSCORP to play dual role for payment of Firestone retirees at the same time has its own responsibility to perform.

Mr. Bongorlee narrated that both Firestone and National Social Security and Welfare Corporation have their own role to perform when it comes to employees benefits adding that Firestone pensions an employee at 25 years and they are responsible to give that pension benefits until the death of that person, while NASSCORP also pensions an employee at 60 years with all the necessary benefits that follows.

FAWUL chairman further stated that everyone have their role and responsiblity to play when it comes to dealing with retirees.

“Why will Firestone push all the responsibility on NASSCORP when it’s to retire an employee at age 60.”

He therefore wonders who will pay those employees until they can reach age 60?

He further described the action of Firestone Management refusal of giving benefits to the retired employees as unjust.

Commenting on the recent mass dismissal by the management of Firestone, Mr. Rodennick M. Bongorlee said the FAWUL management is dissatisfied in the manner in which their people are leaving job but narrated that they were told by Firestone management that they are acting in the confine of the law.

The head of FAWUL lamented that when Firestone started the mass redundant of workers, they contacted the mother union which is Agricultural Agro Industrial Workers’ Union of Liberia,(AAIWUL) which he said, he was told by the president of AAIWUL that he cannot do anything about the redundancy of workers by Firestone.

“The government told Firestone in order not to shut down the company, they should do anything and this is the anything that is affecting the workers today.”

FAWUL new Chairman stressed that certain portion of the decent work act has been widely misinterpreted by Firestone management because of their refusal to share copies of the decent work act to the employees on how to go about doing their job.

FAWUL boss expressed that because of their refusal to share copies of the decent work act to employees, anytime an employee can be dismissed illegally without any reason only because the employees are in darkness when it comes to the decent work act.

Mr. Bongorlee said he is therefore calling for a total revision of the decent work act by both lawmakers of Margibi County along with the government so the employees can know their rights from their wrong.

It can be recalled that recently, 21 employees from Division 35 were dismissed without any legal reasons and they engaged the management of Firestone to reinstate those employees but they were told by Firestone management that they cannot reverse their decision, thereby making them to issued law suit against Firestone Management to the Civil Law court.

Mr. Bongorlee who served as assistant secretary general and now chairman of FAWUL narrated that as a new head of FAWUL, he going to use the dialogue method to engage Firestone management on workers affairs and if it fails, he will use the deplomatic method in solving workers problem and if again it fails, he will definitely use the radical method.

The FAWUL chairman ascendency to the chairman position comes as the result of former chairman Abel Fallah Ngigie who was indicted in office, two week later he was dismissed along with two other persons from the leadership due to what Firestone called Absentee.

Photo Credit: Paul Taggart