Labour Minister-designate, Moses Y. Kollie says that if confirmed by the Liberian Senate, his administration will establish several key sections at the Ministry in line with the Decent Work Act of 2015.
Appearing before the senate for confirmation Monday, February 5, in Monrovia, he names sections such as the National Tripartite Council, the Minimum Wage Board as well as the hiring of trained lawyers to serve as Labour Solicitors to provide representation for indigent workers in the country, stressing that doing so will help to enhance labour regulations and administration in Liberia.
“The issue of workers being mal-handled or ill-treated goes with a lack of responsibility. If you as a worker at GVL or Sime Darby who happens to be sent to court and he/she may not have the capacity to hire a legal counsel, we believe that as a government, through the Ministry of Labour should have a solicitor to go and represent that worker in court”, he says.
“Honorable member, there are good Labour Laws on the book, but we are lacking the political-will to implement those laws. We want to assure that upon our confirmation and on the basis of our past performance at other areas of creditability, we believe in ensuring that the right thing is done and so, we will make sure that the labour law is implemented to the fullest under our government, which came to power with the promise of change.”
He made these assertions on Monday, February 5, 2018 when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Labour for confirmation hearing.
He appeared alongside the Deputy Ministers-designate for Administration, Atty. Yvette Freeman and Atty. Phil Tarpeh Dixon, Manpower Planning as well as Atty. Welma Sampson, Assistant Minister for Labour Standards.
Kollie and his team assure the senate committee that under their watch the Labour Laws of Liberia will not only be applied to the private sector, but to all public corporations that are covered by the Decent Work Act of 2015.
Making specific reference to the Liberian Revenue Authority (LRA), the Labour Minister-designate notes that there are bad labour practices currently taking place at the LRA, ranging from wrongful suspension of employees without pay, wrongful dismissal from the job without pay and intimidation on the job. He recalls that on several occasions, the authorities at the LRA were mandated to reinstate some of these employees that were wrongly dismissed.
He adds that some of those mandates came from both Houses of the Legislature, Ministry of Justice and even the Justice-in-Chamber of the Supreme Court, the highest decision making body in the country, but the head of the LRA did not honor any of those mandates. “With this new dispensation, we want to assure you, if it means that we follow it the letter, we will ensure that fair labour practice be exhibited at the LRA.”
He vows that under his watch as Minister, inspectors will be effective in doing their work, but may not be able to discover or uncover bad labour practices that may be taking place at all workplaces.
“But we want to encourage you that under chapter 8. 8 of the Decent Work Act of 2015 you are covered. If you have issues at your workplace, we will make sure that your identity will not be revealed and will be protected under this Act. So, all you need to do is to alert the Ministry. The days of employers telling workers that your government is in our pocket are over”, says the nominee.
By Brigett Milton-Editing by Jonathan Browne