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18 Nov 2005

Reuters South Africa

Labour group sues Bridgestone on Liberia rubber plantation

The International Labor Rights Fund [ILRF] on Thursday filed a federal lawsuit in the United States alleging workers at Bridgestone Corp.'s Firestone rubber plantation in Liberia toil in virtual slavery. Firestone...relies on a poverty stricken and often illiterate work force to tap tons of raw latex...using...methods that expose them to dangerous pesticides and fertilizers, the group said. Dan Adomitis, the head of Firestone Natural Rubber Co., the unit that operates the Liberian operation, said..."This group [ILRF] has a long track record of filing and losing similar lawsuits against corporations... The allegations by this group are outrageous and are simply not supported by the facts... Firestone is doing more than any other private entity to invest in the rebuilding of Liberia... We provide our (employees) in Liberia with stable jobs, housing, health care and free education"... [also refers to Wal-Mart]

Part of the following timelines

Bridgestone uses forced labour, exposes workers to pesticides on Liberian rubber plantation, according to US human rights lawsuit - firm denies allegations

Firestone lawsuit (re Liberia)