By Kruah Thompson
Liberia’s Labor Minister Cllr. Charles Gibson has refuted a recent claim that the government is depriving civil servants of being a part of the Liberia Labor Congress (LLC).
According to Minister Gibson, the Civil Servants Association (CSA) allegations are untrue, and the government has no intention of preventing civil servants from joining the LLC.
He gave the clarity during a press conference recently. Minister Gibson explained that the CSA previously requested to form part of the LLC, but the request was denied by the court in February 2020.
At the time, he said the court deemed the Civil Servants Workers Union of Liberia (CSWUL) as an incorporated association consisting of civil servants working in government.
As such, Gibson said, the body could not be subjected to the Decent Work Act that governs employees and workers of private institutions, businesses, and companies in Liberia.
Minister Gibson maintained that CSWUL is not a labor or trade union as per the Labor Law of Liberia, and it has not been eligible for membership within the LLC.
The dispute highlights the ongoing struggle for labor rights and representation in Liberia.
However, Minister Gibson noted that the Supreme Court in 2022 confirmed that the February 2020 LLC elections were “null and void.”
“The results of the elections were nullified by the High Court on grounds that the newly elected President of the LLC was a civil servant who was being governed by the Civil Servants Act and wanted to also be governed by the Decent Work Act intended for the private sector,” Cllr. Gibson explained.
He said the court-mandated the Ministry of Labor to constitute a credible team to conduct the LLC elections.
The Labor Minister further said the government is upholding labor standards to ensure that workers are paid better wages.
He said workers’ rights are protected, and they are given preference for better employment opportunities as compared to expatriates.
He claimed that the ministry has received support from the government and its partners to carry out vigorous monitoring of the labor sector across the country.
According to him, various regulations and standing orders are being enforced by the government to provide job opportunities for Liberians.
Minister Gibson encouraged citizens to acquire vocational skills and training in various technical disciplines to increase their chances of being hired by companies and businesses.
While he did not intend to discourage Liberians from pursuing other academic disciplines, he claimed that those acquiring vocational and technical skills have a greater advantage to get jobs following the completion of their studies as compared to their counterparts.