Liberia’s Labor Congress Slams Gov’t For ‘Undermining Workers’ Interest’

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Gardnerville – The decision of the government of Liberia to boycott the celebration of this year’s International Labour Day has not gone down well with executives and members of the Liberia Labour Congress.

First, the George Weah’s administration refused to make a proclamation setting the day as a working holiday, something the previous administration of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf considered every year.

Second, the Ministry of Labor, headed by former Lofa County Representative Moses Kollie, rejected several invitations to attend program commemorating the day.

However, members of the Liberia Labor Congress converged on Tuesday, May 1 to celebrate the day alongside other countries around the world.

May 1 is observed every year as Labor Day or May Day, and it is celebrated for laborers and workers in most countries around the world including South Africa, Ghana, Morocco, Tanzania and several others African countries as a public holiday.

It is also celebrated in China, India, France, Sweden, Singapore, amongst several other countries across the world.  

The day is set aside to commemorate the challenges of workers and the dedication of labors toward organizations irrespective of their power and position.

It is also celebrated to pay tribute and honor the contributions made by workers toward the betterment of the society.

In Liberia, the day was celebrated without any proclamation or recognition by the government for the country’s workforce.

Davide D. Sackoh, secretary general of LLC, said the action of the government to stay away from this year’s celebration comes at the time when the country is facing grave issues with concession companies regarding the rights of workers.

He called on workers to condemn the action of the Liberian government, saying the failure of the Minister of Labour to inform the Foreign Ministry about International Labor Day was a move to undermine the interest of Liberian workers.

Sackoh said the George Weah-led government’s pro-poor agenda should be in the interest of the workers union, stressing that any attempt by the government to down play the interest of the workers will be strongly resisted by the Labour Congress.

“We want to use this event to condemn, in the strongest possible term the decision of the Labour Minister to boycott the Labor Day celebration in Liberia,” he said.   

“For his (Minister Kollie) own blunder and failure to inform the foreign ministry and the office of the President of the Republic of Liberia on the significance of the International Labour Day in order for the proclamation to be declared today as a working holiday.”

The LLC Secretary General said Minister Kollie’s inaction has denied international partners the chance to meet with President Weah and discuss means to strengthen relationship with us “have all gone in vain because of the blunder of the Labour Minister.”

He termed the government’s action as a contradiction to its pro-poor agenda, adding that “any attempt to temper with workers right under this administration it will be resisted strongly by the Liberia Labour Congress.”   

Joyce Musu Freeman Sumo, former Montserrado County senator, told FrontPageAfrica that the leadership of LLC will not rest until the government addresses issues facing workers in the country.

“The current government can recognize this day or not, we do not care. But I just want you to know that we will make them to be workers-friendly. We will continue to knock on their door because when we give up that means they have won,” said Sumo, who is also liaison officer for political affairs at the LLC.

“They will silence us, but they will not silence us forever. This is a pro-poor government, so; at least we expected a proclamation from this government. This union will not die because the government fails to proclaim this day.”

Sani Bana Mohammed, Public Service International (PSI) Regional Secretary for Africa, lauded LLC for working to unite workers in Liberia and he committed his organization’s willingness to work with congress.

Mohammed admonished the LLC to not be deterred by the absence of government officials at the celebration program.

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