FAQs

Please find a list of Firestone Natural Rubber Company frequently asked questions.

Media seeking additional information on Firestone Liberia, please contact Don Darden, Executive Director Communications, Bridgestone Americas, Inc. at DardenDon@bfusa.com.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many people does Firestone Liberia employ?
Firestone Liberia is the largest rubber plantation in the world and the largest employer in Liberia. The company employs more than 7,500 people in numerous types of positions – including rubber tappers, management, teachers and medical staff. Approximately 99 percent of Firestone Liberia’s employees are citizens of Liberia.

Are employees paid a good wage at Firestone Liberia?
Salaries at Firestone Liberia are, on average, double the wages of the rest of the nation of Liberia and often higher than most government civil workers. In addition to salary, employees also receive substantial employee benefits including free housing, free medical care, free education for their children, subsidized food, paid time off and a pension upon retirement.

Are Firestone Liberia employees unionized?
Firestone Liberia employees have been represented by the Firestone Agricultural Workers Union of Liberia (FAWUL) since 2007. The union negotiates employee working agreements, wages and benefits with the company as a result of a collective bargaining agreement.

How is the relationship between Firestone Liberia and FAWUL?
Firestone Liberia has a very productive relationship with the employee union, FAWUL. Firestone Liberia has worked with FAWUL to ensure a number of desirable benefits for employees including free medical care, free housing, free education for children of employees and retirement benefits.

Does Firestone Liberia have a good relationship with the government of Liberia?
Firestone Liberia is a partner for progress with the government of Liberia. As the largest taxpayer and private employer in Liberia, Firestone Liberia has a proven track record of investing in Liberia. Since the end of the war, Firestone Liberia has invested more than $135 million in improving the conditions in Liberia and will invest tens of millions more. These improvements include roads, transportation, schools, medical facilities and other infrastructure.

Firestone Liberia assists the government on national issues such as help combatting the Ebola outbreak. Firestone Liberia is working closely with the government to help stop the spread of the disease and is also working with the Ministry of Health to help advise them on home care recommendations including the isolation and quarantine of patients to stop the spread of the disease.

Does Firestone Liberia have a good relationship with the people of Liberia?
Firestone Liberia deeply cares about the welfare of its employees and the Liberian community. It is a partner for progress in Liberia and is committed to helping Liberia rebuild to protect the interest of the country and improve the lives of all Liberians. Since the end of the war, the company has invested more than $135 million in improving the conditions in Liberia and will invest tens of millions more. These improvements include roads, transportation, schools, medical facilities and other infrastructure.

Firestone Liberia also believe that it has a responsibility to ensure that employees are empowered and educated. The company employ more than 7,500 Liberian citizens and provides them with free medical care, housing and education for their children. Firestone Liberia also provides health care to the surrounding Liberian community through health and mobile clinics.

What products are made as a result of the farm business?
Numerous products are made from the rubber produced at Firestone Liberia. In addition to tires, our products are used to make vital medical components, carpet backing, adhesives, coatings and condoms. After reaching the end of their lifecycle, rubber trees are now cut and processed into an ecologically friendly and durable hardwood called Hevea wood. This wood is used to make furniture, flooring, interior finishing, plywood, paneling, chopping blocks and staircase components.

What education services does Firestone Liberia provide?
Education is critical to the progress of Liberia. The company offers free education to the children of its employees. It operates 27 schools – 26 primary and junior high schools and one high school educating approximately 15,000 students. Firestone Liberia offers scholarships to students to pursue higher education in Liberia or abroad.

Firestone Liberia also provides on-the-job training for employees and adult literacy programs for employees and Liberians in the surrounding community.

What health care services does Firestone Liberia provide?
Firestone Liberia runs nine health care facilities that treat more than 5,700 employees, their families and other members of the Liberian community each month. The Firestone Medical Center at Duside, one of the best hospitals in Liberia, has been on the front lines of preventing and treating the recent Ebola outbreak. The hospital has two Ebola Treatment Units and has treated and saved several patients who survived the deadly virus.

Does Firestone Liberia provide housing for employees?
Making sure Firestone Liberia employees have the health care, education and housing they need is important. Firestone Liberia provides free housing to its employees and their families and has built nearly 8,000 houses, of which about 4,000 are new construction.

What has been Firestone Liberia’s response to the recent Ebola outbreak?
Prevention is key to combatting Ebola. From the outset of the outbreak, Firestone Liberia created and implemented an aggressive prevention and awareness campaign to educate our employees, families and the surrounding communities about Ebola and how to prevent the spread of the disease. Firestone Liberia also established procedures to screen, identify, monitor, trace, isolate and treat those suspected of having the virus. The Firestone Medical Center at Duside, along with two clinics, seven health posts and a mobile medical unit, have helped treat employees and their families and the surrounding communities. The hospital and its Ebola Treatment Units have treated and saved several patients who survived the Ebola virus.

Did Firestone Liberia support the Charles Taylor regime? Did it financially support it?
Firestone did not support any side during the Liberian civil wars. This was a dark time in Liberian history and Firestone Liberia did everything it could to keep its employees safe during a time when no one was safe.

Didn’t Firestone Liberia pay Charles Taylor money to operate?
The government of Charles Taylor was recognized as a legitimate government by the U.S. State Department. As such, Firestone Liberia paid taxes to the government, as was required by law.

What did Firestone corporate know of what was happening during this time?
Firestone Liberia corporate knew that the Liberian civil wars were an extremely dangerous time for its employees and business. Safety was the number one concern and when the company knew the safety of its employees could not be protected, it closed operations. Still, Firestone Liberia delivered food and attempted to visit the site to make sure its employees remained safe even when it had closed its doors.

What was life like at Firestone Liberia during Liberia’s civil war?
It was an extremely dangerous time for all Liberians during the civil war. Safety was the number one concern and when the company knew the safety of its employees could not be protected, it closed operations. Still, Firestone Liberia delivered food and attempted to visit the site to make sure its employees remained safe even when it had closed its doors.

What did Firestone Liberia do to protect the business and its employees?
Firestone Liberia attempted to deliver food and tried to make sure its employees remained safe even when it had closed its doors. Since the end of the civil wars, Firestone Liberia has rebuilt its operations including new housing for its employees.

When did Firestone Liberia close its operations?
Firestone Liberia closed its operations twice during the wars, in 1990 and then again in 1992. It was during those times that Firestone Liberia deemed it too unsafe for its employees to operate.

What happened at the plant site when it was closed?
When the plant site was closed, rebels destroyed much of the plant’s infrastructure including the hospital, housing and schools.

What happened at Camp Carter? What was Firestone Liberia Liberia’s involvement?
This was a horrific time in Liberian history. Hundreds were killed in the Camp Carter Massacre in 1993. Firestone Liberia was closed at this time because the safety of its employees could not be guaranteed.

Why did Firestone Liberia return to Liberia?
Firestone Liberia returned to Liberia because of the rubber supply and its commitment to and responsibility for the people of Liberia. The company did not want to walk away from its employees following the wars. In fact, the company is doing more than ever to make sure its employees and their families receive the education, health care and housing they need to advance themselves and Liberia.