By: Zazay Kolubah
Deputy Justice Minister for Administration and Public Safety Wheatonia Dixon-Barnes has assured of the Government of Liberia’s commitment to upholding all international protocol that promote good labor practices.
Cllr. Barnes said the Liberian Government recognizes the contributions of the labor force toward the nation rebuilding process, and as such grievances by any trade union organization in Liberia will be given the needed attention.
She however, called for respect of the rule-of-law and advised any aggrieved labor group to organize and remain peaceful as they go about registering their concerns.
Cllr. Barnes’ statement comes in response to a petition filed at the Justice Ministry in Monrovia by a group of trade union organizations requesting the ministry to swiftly act and address what it termed as, “bad labor practice,” minted against its members.
The Liberian Affiliates of Public Service International (PSI) in collaboration with other workers and human rights groups, called for the reinstatement of its recently dismissed leaders.
The concerned leaders are George Williams, Joseph Tamba, Melish Weh and Joyce Garniah.
The group also wants civil servants and maritime workers included in the Decent Work Act and the National Association of Health Workers Association of Liberia (NAHWAL) recognized by Government as a trade union organization.
Jefferson Knight, spokesman of the group, said the move also aimed at reminding the Liberian Government to always uphold international protocol that protect the rights of workers.
According to Knight, there are over 15 thousand members of 8 institutions that make up the association of which 15 members were strategically selected from across the sphere of the organization to petition the Justice Ministry during the week.
Other issues brought to the attention of the ministry are alleged unlawful dismissal of school teachers and Roberts International Airport workers. The abolition of the Civil Service Standing Order was said by the petitioners to be divisive.
The peaceful displayed of placards and melodious chants and slogans were praised by authorities of the Justice Ministry, but qualms specifically against the government were termed allegations until further investigation is conducted.
Groups that affixed signatures to the petition are, NAHWAL; the Nation Trade Union of Public and Allied Workers (NTUPAW); the Roberts International Airport Workers’ Union (RIAWU); the Concerned University Students of MOE Local Scholarship Program (CUSMOELP) and the Monrovia Consolidated School System Teachers’ Association (MCSSTA).