The International Labour Organization (ILO) has called for ratification of international labour conventions in Liberia. The country coordinator for ILO’s activities here SalifMassalay, says the ratification of labour conventions will enhance the capacity of the Liberian Labour force in every sector of the job market in the country. Massalay spoke Tuesday, May 18, 2021 at an ongoing seminar on International Labour Standards (ILS) reporting held in Monrovia.
He points to the roots of the International Labour Standards (ILS) to the First World War “Treaty of Versailles”, saying that ILS conventions and recommendations are agreed principles by ILO Tripartite Members (Workers, Employers and Government).
He explains 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”.
According to him, there are eight (8) Fundamental Conventions and Liberia has ratified six (6) of these. Additionally, Liberia has ratified two of the four Governance Conventions and only 17 of the 117 Technical Conventions.
He cites a number of reasons why Liberia has not ratified some key conventions, adding that there are conflicting labour laws in Liberia, such as the Decent Work Act of 2015 and the Civil Service Standing Orders.
The ILO country coordinator continues that although Liberia has ratified ILO Conventions 87 and 98, certain category of workers in Liberia are being banned from Unionism, which contravenes 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, Assistant Labour Minister for Regional Labour Affairs at the Ministry of Labour Wilson V. Dumoe says there are levels of ambiguity in the Decent Work Act or the Labour Law, but all partners in the labour sector of the Liberia have agreed that there should be a review of the Decent Work Act to ensure it is standardized.
Minister Dumoe says Labour issues are quite delicate and calls on participants to take the seminar very seriously by making necessary interventions, noting that all labour matters cut across both the public and private sectors.
For his part, the Lead Facilitator of the seminar Cllr. Patrice P. Weah noted 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 forty tripartite members and other key stakeholders, including the Civil Service Agency (CSA), Civil Servants Association, Health Workers, Press Union of Liberia (PUL), Labour Reporters, Judges, Law Practitioners, and Hearing Officers, among others.