ILO Wants Labor Convention Ratified In Liberia

The International Labor Organization (ILO) has called for the ratification of international Labor Conventions in Liberia.

According to the Country Coordinator of ILO, Salif Massalay, the ratification of the Labor Conventions will enhance the capacity of Liberian labor force in every sector of the job market in the country.

Massalay made the assertion Tuesday, May 18, 2021 at a seminar on International Labor Standards (ILS) reporting held at a local hotel in Monrovia.

He indicated that the roots of the International Labor Standards (ILS) can be traced to the First World War “Treaty of Versailles”,  saying that ILS Conventions and Recommendations are agreed ILO Principles by ILO Tripartite Members (Workers, Employers and Governments).

He pinpointed that there are three categories of ILO Conventions: (a) the “Fundamental or Core ILO Conventions”, (b) the “Governance or Priority Conventions”, and (c) the “Technical Conventions.”

Massalay also disclosed that there are eight Fundamental Conventions and Liberia has ratified six. Additionally, he said Liberia has ratified two of the four Governance Conventions with only 17 of the 117 Technical Conventions.

He stated that due to a number of reasons, some key Conventions have not been ratified by Liberia.

He noted that the Decent Work Act of 2015 and the Civil Service Standing Orders are two conflicting labor laws in Liberia.

The ILO Country Coordinator then raised  concern that although Liberia has ratified ILO Conventions 87 and 98, certain category of workers in Liberia are being banned from unionism, which is in contravention to the ratified Conventions 87 and 98 on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize, and Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining respectively.

Meanwhile, the Assistant Minister for Regional Affairs at the Ministry of Labor, Wilson V. Dumoe informed the gathering there are some degrees of ambiguity in the Decent Work Act or the Labor Law, but mentioned that all partners in the labor sector of Liberia have agreed that there should be a review of the Decent Work Act to ensure that all issues with the Decent Work Act are standardized.

Assistant Minister Dumoe indicated that Labor issues are quite delicate and called on participants to take the seminar very seriously and make the necessary interventions. He added that all labor matters cut across both the public and private sectors.

For his part, the Lead Facilitator of the seminar, Cllr. Patrice P. Wiah declared that the expected outcome of the capacity building seminar is to strengthen the capacity of Government, social partners and other key stakeholders to actively and effectively follow up with the government to report on ratified conventions and other issues raised by the ILO Supervisory Bodies.

The seminar brought together over 40 tripartite members and other key stakeholders including the Civil Service Agency (CSA), Civil Servants Association, health workers, the media, labor reporters, judges, law practitioners, and Hearing Officers, among others.

For a protracted period, Liberia has not submitted any report under ratified Conventions.

In 2020, none of the reports requested under ratified Conventions (C29, C87, C98, C105, C111, C112, C113, C114 and C144) were received. In 2021, in addition to these reports, the Government was called upon to provide reports under Conventions Nos. 81, and 150.

Discussions with the Labor Minister and the Assistant Labor Minister were held in February/March 2021 to discuss how the ILO can assist the Government in its commitment to clear the backlog in reports to be sent under ratified Conventions. Obstacles referred to from the Ministry’s side in relation to reporting include, among other things, the lack of dedicated staff in charge of drafting the reports as well as limited national capacities to follow up on requests to the Government by the CEACR and to apply ratified Conventions.

 

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