21 March 2019

Liberia: GOL Begs Firestone for Mercy

The Liberian Government on March 19, 2019 held a constructive meeting with the management of Firestone concerning its plan to lay off workers because of financial losses the company has sustained in the past ten years.

The meeting continued on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 with a conference call placed to senior management at the company's headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A.

An array of Government officials attended the meetings, which were held at the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs. During the discussions, the government requested a negotiated settlement that will prevent or delay the planned layoffs.

In a statement read on Thursday, at the Ministry of Information Cultural Affairs and Tourism, Deputy Minister for Public Affairs Eugene Fahngon said Government proposed to work with firestone to address concerns about its current business model.

In response according to Fahngon, the management of Firestone informed the government that the company has incurred losses of around USD$20million annually for the past ten or more years and is at a point where the situation can no longer be sustained.

The management clarified that the layoffs will actually affect six hundred people, as the other two hundred workers are normal retirees. The company further informed the government that two hundred of the affected employees work at its rubber wood plant which has been shutting down in the past because the USD$16 million it invested in the plant has not proven viable for the company .as a result, the company plan to sell the business or shut it down totally. The management agreed to remain engaged with the government on different options the GOL is proposing. A third meeting has been scheduled for early April when member of the senior management team form Nashville will be in the country. The Government calls on all concerned to remain calm and law abiding as she (GOL) dialogues with Firestone to reach a reasonable outcome.

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