ILO Hails Ministry of Labor for Openness and Promotion of Social Dialogue – As Civil Servants Seek Union Status…

The Director of the International Labour Organization (ILO) for English Speaking West African States, Mr. Dennis Zulu has hailed the Minister of Labour, Chief Moses Y. Kollie and Senior Management Team of the Ministry for the level of openness and the promotion of Social Dialogue within the Labour Sector of Liberia. He described such move as very essential to the ILO and labour administration.

Mr. Zulu was speaking at a social dialogue meeting held with the leadership of the Civil Servants Union of Liberia (CSUL) and the Health Workers Association on one hand and the Ministry of Labour at the Ministry of Labour in Monrovia on Thursday, August 15, 2019.

The leadership of the CSUL is accusing the Ministry of Labour for refusing or delaying to grant it a union status which will enable it to unionize and bargain with government in their interest of Civil servants.

In respond, the ILO Regional Director said that the ILO is very concerned about the unionization of the Civil Servants of Liberia, but was delighted that the Government of Liberia is taking steps in addressing the situation.

“The fact that the civil servants of Liberia are not unionized creates a concern to the ILO, but since November 2018, the ILO have seeing some openness from the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Labour to ensuring that this is corrected. Liberia is a signatory to ILO Conventions 87 & 98 both of which guarantee the rights to organize and collective bargain and therefore ILO has encouraged Liberia like other member states to ensure compliance to these instruments”.

Earlier, Labour Minister Moses Y. Kollie informed the leadership of CSUL that Resolution developed at the end of National Labour Conference held in 2018 which highlighted amongst things the harmonization of the two labour laws of Liberia (the Decent Work Act and Standing Orders of Civil Service Agency) has recommended the amendment of the law and also acknowledged the important of the unionization of the CSUL.

“The National Tripartite Council (NTC) have received and endorsed the Resolution and since it recommend the amendment of some laws, it requires the support of the President and the Legislature. As such, upon receipt of the resolution the council submitted it to the Executive.”

Minister Kollie told the CSUL leadership that the Decent Work Act which is the Labour Law of Liberia does not authorized the Ministry of Labour to grant union status to Civil Servants as is being perceived by the CSUL and others. “Civil Servants are covered under different law and until that law is amended or harmonized with the Decent Work Act, this Ministry cannot do much.”

“To further tell you that we have interest in harmonizing the laws to allow you unionized, the ILO sponsored a trip for me and my team to Ghana to learn best practices, especially as it relates to the harmonization of the law. During our visit, we met and held discussions with the Ghana’s Ministry of Labour, the Labour Commission and Trade Unions on how they went about with the harmonization of their laws.”

For his part, the President of the Civil Servants Union of Liberia (CSUL), Mr. Moibah K. Johnson said he sees no reason why the Government of Liberia will be terrified by the coming together of the Civil Servants in union noting that “if civil servants are unionized, they will be a truthful partner in the running of the government, particularly in meeting its agenda.

By : Joseph K. Nyandibo/Director/Communications/MOL

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