The Consortium of Public Sector Workers Organizations of Liberia, a group comprising health workers, public school teachers and all civil servants has threatened a nationwide go-slow if the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) – led government fails to pay all arrears due public employees by 31 October 2019.
“Failure on the part of the government of Liberia to address these grave concerns and that border around the labor rights and economic livelihood of public sector workers and their families within the period of two weeks and from this date will result to a nationwide go – slow action by all public sector workers within the Republic of Liberia,” group says.Reading the Public Sector Workers’ resolution Wednesday, 23 October, Civil Service Association of Liberia president Mr. Mulbah Johnson demands an immediate halt to “all unapproved and unauthorized percentage deductions” on the salaries of Public Sector Workers by the Ministry of Finance.
In the wake of continued strikes here for salaries, members and officials of the ruling CDC, including Grand Kru County Rep. Jonathan Fonati Koffa who crossed over to the ruling party have embarked on blaming the opposition here for public sector workers’ protests for arrears.About a week after protesting public school students who blocked the street in demand of speaking with President George Manneh Weah were tear gas by police and then rushed to hospital, Koffa alleges that the opposition exposed the kids to danger by putting them in the streets to protest.
However the students’ protest was triggered after public school teachers abandoned classes to strike for their unpaid salaries.The situation outside the President’s office was terrifying as several students were rushed to hospital during the protest as a result of dozens of tear gas canisters fired by riot police to disperse protesting public schools students.
Given the CDC government and its loyalists’ blame – shifting tactics against opposition in addressing pay crisis, it is not clear if the latest threat for a nationwide go – slow by the Public Sector Workers is influenced by the opposition in the face of the hard realities of economic woes that have struck the Weah regime.Public workers here go for months without pay, and the CDC government would struggle at times to make part – payment of arrears to employees at a given institution whose employees are striking for unpaid salaries.
As part of demands by the public workers,Mr. Mulbah Johnson says government must immediately employ all vetted supplementary or voluntary teachers, and that all salary arrears for public sector workers be paid on or before October 31, 2019.He insists that government payroll be brought back to the CSA which he says is clothed with the statutory responsibility to appropriate salaries based on its grading system.
Besides, the public sector workers organization says it wants all premiums deducted from public workers to be remitted to the respective insurance companies.The group also wants a regular deduction and remittance to the National Teachers Association of Liberia (NTAL) the shares and loans of the NTAL’s Credit Union Cooperative membership dues as enshrined in a “legal document” submitted to CSA and MFDP.The group concludes that the NTAL’s membership due of 2% per member be fully implemented and remitted to the organization for its smooth operation.By Winston W. Parley