Minister Gibson Addresses Plenary of The International Labour Conference

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Monrovia – Labour Minister Cllr. Charles H. Gibson has appealed to the International Labour Organization (ILO), through its Regional Office in Nigeria, for assistance in the rehabilitation, skilled training and absorption into the labour market of Zogoes.

Minister Gibson made the statement on Wednesday, June 9, 2021 when he addressed the Plenary of the 109th Session of the International Labour Conference (ILC) via Zoom from Monrovia. The statement was also in respond to the Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Mr. Guy Rider Report on the effect of COVID)19 on the world of work.

He informed the Plenary of the ILO that Zogoes are a sector of Liberia’s youth and young adults who are victims of the County’s 15 years Civil War who were involuntarily recruited as “child soldiers” by various warring factions, introduced to drugs and had no opportunity for formal schooling or being brought up within a normal civilize environment. “We are convinced that if properly attended to, these young people will immensely contribute to the labour market of Liberia.”

“On behalf of His Excellency Dr. George M. Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia, I extend thanks to the Director-General for his leadership role during the COVID-19 in partnership with global leaders in a concerted effort to combat the deadly pandemic. We are aware that the gains made in working towards a more Decent Work were significantly eroded by this global pandemic which has so far claimed the lives of over 3 million people globally.”

Minister Gibson said that to curtail its spread in the workplaces, the Government of Liberia in consultation with the employers and workers, published a COVID-19 Preparedness Guide for Workplaces and Workers in Liberia. He said that this guide provided general occupational health and safety direction to workers and employers in the workplace on handling COVID-19 outbreaks.

“Mr. Chair, after a year plus of combatting the impact of COVID-19, the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Labour has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Liberia Chamber of commerce to create the first tranche of 500 jobs in the private sector for recent University graduates with a minimum salary of US$350 per month. This effort will relieve some of the unemployment caused by the pandemic, especially among young people. Also, to strengthen the capacity of the Liberia Labour Congress (LLC), the Ministry of Labour recently authorized the transfer of US$20,000 from its budgetary allotment to the LLC and is working with the Ministry of Finance to provide in the National Budget, a yearly subsidy to the LLC. These collaborations illustrate the mutual confidence and cooperation shared within the tripartite arrangement.”

The Liberia Labour Minister reminded the Conference that Liberia is a test case of the noble Decent Work Agenda, which is largely a model of the ILO. Accordingly, some unexpected challenges were obvious, but Liberia expects that the ILO would share in the responsibility to resolve these challenges so as to make the Decent Work model attractive to the Government, employers, and workers in other countries; the contrary of which will discourage other countries from adopting same. 

He used the opportunity to highlight the negative impact human trafficking and child labour is having on decent work worldwide. This conference may want to consider a special intervention to curtail its occurrence in workplaces.

“Mr. Chairman, we pledge our full support to the outcome of this conference, especially where it will consider the draft conference outcome document proffered by the Director-General, Mr. Guy Rider, where it focuses on a global response for a human-centere recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.”

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