Firestone, FAWUL Sign New Agreement

The Management of Firestone Liberia and the Firestone Agricultural Workers’ Union of Liberia (FAWUL) have renewed their commitment to work together for the good, improvement and progress of the company and its employees.

The two parties made the renewal of their commitment recently at the Firestone Staff Club in Harbel, when they signed a new Collective Bargaining Agreement that is effective from 2013 to December 2015.

The signing program followed months of negotiations between Management and FAWUL which represents the interest of the employees.

Speaking at the signing ceremony on Tuesday, May 28, 2013, the Employees Relations Manager of Firestone Liberia, Mrs. Winleta Aynn Henries Reeves, praised representatives of both parties for exhibiting a high sense of dedication and commitment to the process.

She reminded the audience that the signing ceremony usually takes place every three years and it is a time when the negotiating parties come together to finalize with their signatures the document agreed upon by Management and the Firestone Agricultural  Workers’ Union.

Mrs. Reeves described the Collective Bargaining Agreement as “a guiding document” that works in line with the Labor Law, and other policies in the interest of both parties.

She noted that the CBA is not only about what increment the employees will get, but contains other details regarding what Management and the workers want among themselves. According to her, it is also a document that covers other benefits that are important to Management and the employees.

The Firestone Liberia’s Employees Relations Manager expressed gratitude that in spite of the long process, the negotiation ended successfully without any mishaps or work stoppage. She further used the occasion to thank the workers for their patience and understanding while the process was ongoing between their representatives and Management.

Making remarks following the signing of the document, the President and Managing Director of Firestone Liberia, Mr. Edmundo L. Garcia, said the signing of the CBA between Management and the Firestone Agricultural Workers’ Union marks a new beginning and a new chapter in the history of Firestone Liberia.

He noted that the Collective Bargaining Agreement is based on mutual respect and understanding.

Mr. Garcia also used the occasion to commend and applaud both sides on the negotiating table for conducting the negotiations in the spirit of cooperation and industrial harmony.

The Firestone Liberia boss also described the agreement as “a win-win agreement that will equally provide stability and benefits.”

He expressed the hope that Management and the employees can continue to work together to face the challenges ahead so as to create a sustainable future for the employees, their children, and Firestone Liberia.

Also speaking during the ceremony was the President of the Liberia Labor Congress, Madam Elitha T. Manning, who expressed happiness for the signing of the CBA negotiated by representatives of FAWUL and the Management of Firestone Liberia.

Madam Manning also disclosed that her happiness is based on the fact that both parties settled on the terms of the agreement without the involvement of the Labor Ministry or the Liberia Labor Congress.

She further stressed, “This is what the Liberia Labor Congress is out for; we should make sure that we iron out our differences without the involvement of our next partner, which is the government.”

She thanked both parties for the level of commitment and dedication shown towards the process.

She entertained the hope that other workers’ unions will emulate the good example of the Management of Firestone Liberia and FAWUL.

Making special remarks during the occasion, the Acting Minister of Labor, Mr. Neto Zarzar Lighe, called on the parties to work towards the total compliance of the terms of the CBA.

He was especially thankful that the two sides disagreed to agree on the terms of the document without any confusion.

“We didn’t come in for arbitration and that you people were able to resolve your differences amicably; I mean that was very responsible on your part” the Acting Labor Minister observed.

He called on the workers to go through their union whenever there is a problem; and they must work along with Management for maximum productivity.

Mr. Lighe also assured that the Ministry will continue to cooperate with both parties in making sure that industrial harmony exists at all times within the concession area.

The Secretary General of FAWUL, Mr. Edwin B. Cisco, who spoke on behalf of the workers’ Union, said the signing ceremony was a new beginning and described it as “a milestone in the history of our company”

He pledged FAWUL’s unflinching support and loyalty to the long existing partnership between Firestone Liberia and the people of Liberia.  He assured that the union will continue to constructively engage Management in the full implementation of the terms and conditions of the new CBA.

He expressed the hope that there will be full compliance of the terms agreed upon in the agreement for the benefits of all parties.

He noted that workers will continue to work with the Management team in the realization of the 2013/2015 Collective Bargaining Agreement which is aimed at improving the living and working conditions of employees and their dependents.

He used the opportunity to urge his fellow teammates to continue to work harder than before for the attainment of success for all by making sure that they increased productivity.

The colorful program was attended by Representatives Ballah Zayzay, Stephen S. Kafi, Jr., shop stewards and managers, among others.