Harbel, Liberia – March 18, 2019 – After a thorough and strategic review of its current operations in Liberia, West Africa, Firestone Natural Rubber Company, an indirect subsidiary of Bridgestone Americas, Inc., has announced the difficult decision to reduce its workforce by 13% (approximately 800 employees) by early second quarter of 2019 at the company’s Firestone Liberia operation. Headcount reductions will take place throughout the company’s operations, and include retirements, the discontinuation of certain work contracts, and redundancies.
This action is necessary due to continued and unsustainable losses resulting from high overhead costs associated with the company’s Concession Agreement with the Government of Liberia, low natural rubber production because of the country’s prolonged Civil Wars and continued low global natural rubber prices.
Firestone Liberia has been working closely with the Ministry of Labor and the Agricultural Agro-Processing and the Industrial Workers Union of Liberia (AAIWUL) to ensure that employees made redundant as part of this action will be done so in accordance with all applicable Liberian labor laws, company policies, and the company’s collective bargaining agreement with AAIWUL.
Unfortunately, these measures alone will not be enough to restore Firestone Liberia to profitability. As a result, the company will continue to evaluate all aspects of its business to ensure long-term competitiveness and determine the best allocation of company resources to optimize our portfolio, processes and culture.