Over the past 5 years, international palm oil companies (including some of the industry’s largest producers like Sime Darby and and Golden AgriResources) have bought up hundreds of thousands of hectares in Liberia to create enormous palm oil plantations. The Liberian government has often justified the sale of the concessions by noting that they will create decent jobs for low-skilled laborers, but what is the reality on the ground?
The International Labor Rights Fund and the Institute for Policy Studies are excited to welcome Edwin Cisco, Vice-President of the Firestone Agricultural Workers Union of Liberia (FAWUL), to discuss the rapid expansion of palm oil and FAWUL’s efforts to engage and organize palm oil plantation workers in Liberia. FAWUL negotiated a ground-breaking collective bargaining agreement with Firestone Tires in 2008 that has improved working conditions and reduced child labor on the Firestone rubber plantation. Now, it is hoping to prevent child labor and other worker rights abuses by engaging palm oil workers now, while the industry is still young and expanding. With support from ILRF, FAWUL is conducting a livelihood survey among workers on palm oil plantations to assess current working conditions, flag potential issues, and begin an organizing effort. Mr. Cisco will present initial results from this work.
We hope you will join us for this important, engaging discussion.