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Thursday, June 20, 2024

LIBERIA: 69-YEAR-OLD MAN WANTS FIRESTONE TO PAY RETIREES RETIREMENT BENEFITS

Date:

By Stanley Kolubah Johnson

MONROVIA – Mr. Peter Mulbah has lamented that Firestone Liberia management and workers signed an agreement that allows a worker to serve for twenty-five years and will be retired and be given payment of a percentage which he did not disclose.

In an exclusive interview with Smart News Liberia’s correspondent, Mr. Mulbah added that National Social Security (NASCROP) agreement also gives workers of Firestone the opportunity to be retired at 60yrs or 100 months and after which he/she will be retired by (NASCROP).

The 69 years old retiree further stated that Firestone management has denied retirees from getting their just benefits after being retired by the company, something according to him is causing serious problems for them who have accordingly spent most of their lives on the rubber plantation as employees of Firestone Rubber Company.

Meanwhile, Mr. Peter Mulbah expressed that denying workers who are being retired the benefits undermines the agreement between the workers and the company.

He said: “The agreement signed between us as workers of Firestone is that after your twenty-five years, Firestone will pension you, and after your 60years or 100months National Social Security will retire you; but Firestone had denied us from our benefits only National Social Security giving us benefits”.

The retired Firestone worker said, he as an individual worked for Firestone rubber plantation for about 16 years indicating that his retirement came as a result of the sixty years retirement agreement between him and National Social Security that gives him the chance to be retired upon reaching 60years or 100months on job, stressing that Firestone is now leaving her workers only to get retirement benefits from NASCROP and they as employers are not giving the retirees their just benefits after their years of service, a condition according to him is against their labour.

“Firestone management only gives Golden Hands shake to workers, instead of retirees getting their just benefits as it is done by National Social Security (NASCROP),” stressed Mulbah.

It can be recalled many citizens who worked for Firestone management retired after twenty-five years of service and also retired by NASCROP after they reach 60 years or 100 months according to reliable sources…

This act then gives retirees chance to get benefits from both areas while sitting out of jobs. Several retirees of the Firestone plantation have expressed their dissatisfaction with Firestone on such a break of agreement between them.

Mr. Peter Mulbah said with his current age, he is finding it difficult to send his eight children to school and therefore calling on the government of Liberia and advocates to intervene in the retirees’ situation.

But according to a report on March 1, 2019, Firestone management announced changes to its employees’ pension program which started effectively on March 1, in accordance with the Decent Work Act, and per the previous communications with employees and retirees.

In the communication, it was established that Firestone ceased the company’s direct pension payments for retirees who qualify for and are due pension payments by National Social Security and Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP).

Firestone’s decision was taken in accordance with the law, explaining that in situations where current retirees do not qualify for a full 40% pension from NASSCORP ( 40% of the retiree’s final pay amount), Firestone management makes up the balance, ensuring that retirees receive the maximum 40% pension amount.

The company’s transition to administered pension is only for retirees who qualify for a  NASSCORP pension.

It said pensioners who do not qualify for a NASSCORP pension, Firestone Liberia will continue to honor its pension obligations, through company-direct pension payments, as in the past.

The company clarified that under major changes with this transition, all persons who retired from Firestone Liberia after March 1, 2019, will only receive a NASSCORP pension at NASSCORP rates.

Also, all persons who retired before March 1, 2019, will receive the maximum pension amount of 40% from either Firestone Liberia, NASSCORP, or a combination of the two.

The statement said retirees not transitioning to NASSCORP administered program, Firestone will continue to provide pension benefits to those retirees who do not qualify for NASSCORP.

This includes current retirees who stopped working before NASSCORP came into existence in 1986 and current retirees who made less than 100-dollar monthly contributions to NASSCORP at the time of their retirement, even if they have received a NASSCORP refund of contributions paid.

On the administration of NASSCORP-administered pensions, Firestone said each current retiree who qualifies for a pension from NASSCORP will receive his/her pension benefits directly from NASSCORP.

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Smart News Liberia is an online news outlet and a product of Smart Media Group Inc. Our website, smartnewsliberia.com, covers a broad spectrum of news content. For inquiries or information, you can reach us at 0777425285 or 0886946925, or email us at smartnewsliberia@gmail.com or info@smartnewsliberia.com.

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