Nine months into the Coalition for Democratic Change’s led Liberian Government, there seems to be a sliver of hope for workers in the country, whom, in time past, have had to frustratingly struggle for their individual and collective rights at respective work places, both in the public and private sectors, if claims by National Labor Inspector General, D. Eric Kpayea, are nothing but the truth.
According to the Inspector General of Labor, unlike in the past, are now actually placing confidence in the Ministry’s ability to create and enhance a conducive, harmonious and productive workplace environment, for both employers and employees in the country.
Making the disclosure over the weekend, Kpayea said prior to the inception of the government of President George Weah in January of this year, there was a total lack of confidence across the strata, towards the Labor Ministry, due to the general state of dishonesty exhibited by officials there.
“Look, when we assumed the Labor Inspector General portfolio, some six months ago, we observed that nothing like integrity or duty to the country and people existed here. Everything was a disgrace to the country’s image,” he emphasized. Both aggrieved employers and employees, only ended up getting swindled, whenever they sought redress for wrongs done against them,” Kpayea added.
For instance, he said; an aggrieved employee seeking the Ministry’s intervention, usually ended up getting fired from his or her job, because unscrupulous agents of the Ministry would, in turn, criminally connive with the employer or management, being complained against. Speaking further, Kpayea said, however, the new Labor Ministry’s administration, headed Minister Moses Y. Kollie, since its inception in January, 2018, has busied itself in aggressively, but maturely tackling the many challenges met on the ground, including; firstly training related staffs, especially, those detailed with the Inspectorate Division, as well as, conducting nationwide awareness on the country’s labor Law and other important protocols, including, the Decent Work Act, as part of ongoing efforts to building and maintaining fair and harmonious work places across Liberia.
He made mention of the right of workers, under the law, to a ten days ‘sick leave,’ each year, besides their Annual Leaves, which employers are to respect and comply with. “In furtherance of the implementation of our Constitutional mandate,” he added, the Ministry has also been investigating, hearing and handing down judgements in several industrial, as well as labor cases, in which, both Managements, as well as, Workers’ rights had been or were being violated, respectively.
He specified the Liberia Agriculture Company (LAC), in Grand Bassa and Sime Darby, in Western Liberia, as two of the companies recently found guilty and fined tens of thousands in United States dollars. The Inspector General of Labor also stressed that the Moses Y. Kollie’s administration, is very committed to implementing the inarguably but, yet, elusive labor related aspect of ‘Liberianization Policy, which requires certain top-level positions in private companies and concessionaires, to be occupied by available qualified Liberian citizens. Meanwhile, Kpayea has extended thanks and appreciation to President George Weah, for his farsighted decision to appoint hundreds of young people to positions of trust in his Government. By this, he noted, the Liberian leader has taken the bold and necessary step, in allowing young people the needed opportunity to better prepare themselves for future nation building responsibilities.