Firestone Workers, NASSCORP on Bad Footing


Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

Posted December 15, 2004

Some concerned workers of the Firestone Rubber Plantations Company in Harbel, Margibi County, say, they intend to pressurize the management of the company to review, if not, withdraw its commitment to honor the insurance policy of the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP), as instituted by the government of Liberia.

According to the workers, the policy mandates the Management of Firestone to deduct certain amount from the monthly earnings of every employee and turn same over to NASSCORP as premiums. They disclosed that under the policy, NASSCORP is required to compensate the employee in case of injuries on the job, which include medical expenses if any, disabilities, old age or death.

Speaking to our reporter recently in Harbel and some camps on the plantation, more than 300 workers at the plantation said, their plan stems from the fact that, from the date of their employment with the company up to present, they have not seen or heard that a worker of Firestone has benefited from his or her premium paid to NASSCORP describing it as disheartening and against their interest.

The workers who are mostly tappers expressed surprise that with the huge amount Firestone pays to NASSCORP, the corporation has failed to honor its side of the agreement as stipulated in the policy. They further injected that it is Firestone that compensates its employees in case of injuries, disabilities and retirement. According to the employees, Firestone also provides some compensation from family members in case of death of their relatives.

They vowed to push forward the pressure in a not too distant future because as they put it, “the policy is of no use to us.” They accused the current Director/General of NASSCORP, Mr. Orishall Gould of allegedly using this huge amount to support the
Congress for Democratic Change of George Oppong Weah, which Mr. Gould is an executive member.

An inside source close to the Management of Firestone claimed that the company pays more than 80,000.00USD to NASSCORP monthly, as premiums for its workers, but denied any knowledge of the workers’ latest plan.

But in sharp reaction, NASSCORP Director-General, L. Orishall Gould, said the allegations were untrue and only intended to taint his institution’s image.

He clarified that in the Social Security business there is no fixed amount of money pouring in every month as a standardized taxation instead it is based on the payroll value that one gets a percentage to cover employee’s welfare.

“In fact, it is never the same; it fluctuates-it could be 5.00 US or 80,000 US depending on the payroll at the time,” he noted.

Mr. Gould further explained that in line with NASSCORP Insurance Policy, the management of every company that is in business with the corporation has the obligation to pay 3% for pension scheme; 1.75% of injury scheme while the employees themselves have to contribute 3%.

He said NASSCORP has approximately 6,000 employees nationwide who are benefiting from the scheme. This is a trust- fund type of thing because when an insured employee gets injured we response to you,” he said.

Mr. Gould also described the allegation that he and his deputies have been transferring money in foreign accounts as false and unthinkable, noting that he would be a fool to do something like that because he has the mandate to work for the Liberian people and whatever he gainfully accrues must be in the interest of the people he was appointed to serve.
Though the NASSCORP boss admitted that he is an executive trying to hierarch George Weah’s Presidency, only his expertise is needed not money, as such people should stop playing politics to smear his reputation

“We are not in the business of negativity. So let me make it very clear that there is not report that people are trying to withdraw from Social Security. In fact, we just got a successful national beneficiary Day Program where beneficiaries were extremely happy over the benefit they receive on a timely basis,” he explained.

© 2004: This article is copyrighted by the Forum newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.