Liberia Labour Minister Addresses Blyden Forum

Liberia has begun instituting legal framework that will lead to its full domestication of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions #100, and #138.

ILO Convention #100 advocates for “Equal Pay for Equal Work” while, Convention #138 covers “Minimum Age for Admission to Work”.

Speaking at a Special Edition of the Edward Wilmot Blyden Forum organized by the Press Union of Liberia on Wednesday, October 13, 2021 in Monrovia, Labour Minister Cllr. Charles H. Gibson said predecessors of the Weah Administration (ILO), have over the years domesticated most of what are contained in the conventions.

The Forum which was addressed by two members of the National Tripartite Council (NTC) of Liberia, the President of the Liberia Chamber of Commerce (LCC), Cllr. Oswald Tweh and Labour Minister Cllr. Charles H. Gibson was held under the theme: “Domestication of ILO Convention #100, #138 and #160.

Cllr. Gibson intimated that child Labour, minimum wage and equal remuneration for women and men are captured in the Decent Work Act of 2015 and also several regulations being issued by the Ministry of Labour and other legal instruments of Liberia.

Speaking of the Minimum Age Convention, Minister Gibson said someone may work at the age 16, if it is not in a hazardous job, “you are not in a confinement, going underground, in elevation, involved with equipment or exposed to any immediate danger.” He added that the conventions say that despite what is written, the law is law of precedent. The law of Liberia provides that at 16 years of age, you can work, but not in hazardous positions”, he stressed.

Minister Gibson said that issue of apprenticeship has become a concerned to the Ministry of Labour, because there are children age 12 and below active in garages, carpenter and mechanic shops across the country.   Many of the kids, he underscored are from Guinea.

The Liberian Labour Minister however disclosed that the system of children helping their parents to complete task on plantations are no longer tolerated and encouraged by the Liberian Government.

For his part, the President of Liberia Chambers of Commerce, Cllr. Oswald Tweh emphasized the need for massive enforcement and awareness of these conventions. The President of the Liberia Chambers of Commerce called on journalists to get involved in creating awareness on the two ILO conventions that were ratified by the Liberian Legislature.

He said when unions are strong, they will greatly contribute to a prepared workforce for Liberia with all rights and remunerations are dually accorded workers.

Cllr. Tweh intimated that Labour unions must be strengthened so that it makes the conventions effective and implementable. He said the amendments to the ILO Constitution have strengthened the conventions.  The President of the Liberia Chambers of Commerce stressed that the 1986 amendments guarantees inclusion of membership to the ILO Convention.

The Forum was held under the theme: “Domestication of ILO Convention #100, #138 and #160.

In remarks, ILO Program Manager to Liberia Mr. Salif Haji Massalay said that the ratification of these Conventions are vary key to workings of the ILO in Liberia.

Mr. Massalay commended the Minister of Labour for his leadership role played in ensuring the ratification and signing into law the conventions by the President of Liberia.

He used the occasion to provide a behalf history of the ILO and the collaborations between the ILO and the NTC in Liberia.

He informed members of the PUL that the ILO has four mandates namely: 1. promotion of the right to work, 2. Encourage decent work creation, 3. Enhance social protection and 4. Social dialogue on work related issues.

He spoke of the need to create awareness on the conventions recently ratified by the Government of Liberia as they are key to the promotion of decent work in Liberia. Mr. Massalay further inform the journalists that the ILO has conducted a Regional awareness and sensitization campaign in six counties of Liberia working alongside with the Vice President of the Press Union of Liberia and the Communication Division of the Ministry of Labour to increase understanding and knowledge of the social partners and local leaders.

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About Cholo Brooks 15641 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.

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