-UMC Human Rights Monitor Urges Gov’t
By Reuben Sei Waylaun
The Human Rights Monitor of the United Methodist Church of the Liberia Annual Conference (LAC/UMC) is urging the Liberian Government to enforce the implementation of the Decent Work Act (DWA) of 2015.
Jefferson B. Kngigh
The Program Director of the UMC Human Rights Monitor, Jefferson B. Knight made the statements Tuesday May 1, 2018 in commemoration of this year’s International Labor Day.
The day is celebrated every year to recognize the contribution that workers have made and are making to the social, political, economic growth and development of society.
Speaking further, Knight said protecting, respecting and promoting labor rights in Liberia are major challenges that workers are faced with especially during the administration of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
The human rights activist recounted that scores of workers and their union leaders were wrongly dismissed, both within the public and private sectors.
He said to curtail these issues, there is a need to ensure the full implementation of the Decent Work Act at all levels in the labor sector of the country.
“It has been consistently reported by workers that the new labor law has been circumvented by employers with the acquiescence of the Ministry of Labor, especially during the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s administration,” he said.
Knight recounted the bad labor practices at Duraplast, Bea Mountain Gold Mining Company in western Liberia, the planting of farmland, and laid off of 795 employees at Golden Veroleum in Sinoe County, the death of six employees at the Liberia Agriculture Company (LAC), the wrongful redundancy of 182 employees by China Union in Bong Mines, too many tax cuts at Weala Rubber Corporation, the dismissal of two security officers at Cavalla Rubber Corporation or Maryland Oil Palm plantation among others.
“The monitor sees these acts as devilish, wicked and undermine the dignity of the Liberia workers. The George Weah’s administration must act now to ensure that public and private sectors are protected and that the civil servants’ association, national health workers union of Liberia and other public institutions are recognized and unionized,” Knight added.
Knight lamented that since the passage of the DWA in 2015, it has not been fully implemented, saying the current government is under obligation to ensuring the implementation of the laws of Liberia that should meaningfully impact the lives of the ordinary citizens.
“The monitor views the abuses and violations of the rights of workers in Liberia as an attack on the peace-loving people of Liberia and the situation must be reversed. The Ministry of Labor must not betray the trust of the Liberian people. Labor is not commodity that can be traded, but a service of dignity to make the world a better place for all of God’s creation,” he indicated.
The UMC Human Rights Monitor boss wants the Ministry of Labor inspectors to pay regular visits to companies and others to monitor the implementation of the DWA, create awareness on the law across the country and the minimum wage must positively impact the lives of the people among others.