Gov’t, Unions Unite As Teachers, Health Workers Near Decent Work Act Certification

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In an unprecedented and historic move, the Ministry of Labour and the leadership of two of Liberia’s most prominent workers’ groupings, the National Health Workers Union of Liberia and the National Teachers Association of Liberia, have embarked on a series of discussions aimed at eventually incorporating them under the Labor Law of Liberia – Decent Work Act of 2015. Both the House and Senate Chairmen on Labor are participating in these negotiations.

 Labour Minister, Cllr. Charles H. Gibson, presided over the discussion last Thursday at the Ministry of Labor during which it was agreed that a symposium will be convened sometime this month to harmonize the differences and draft an amendment to both the Civil Service Act and the Decent Work Act to facilitate the two groupings’ certification.

The Labor committees of both the House of the Legislature, the Liberia Labour Congress, and the Chambers of Commerce will all participate in a weekend-long symposium to be held outside Monrovia. One of the significant expected outcomes of the forthcoming symposium will be the introduction of a draft amendment to the existing law. This amendment aims to enhance the status and rights of healthcare workers and educators.

During the meeting, leaders from the National Health Workers Union of Liberia and the National Teachers Association of Liberia, including luminaries like Mr. Simon A. Morris and Mr. Deemi T. Dearzrua, expressed their concerns about potential government interference in their organizations’ day-to-day operations. Minister Gibson promptly addressed these concerns, assuring the unions that the government had no intention of interfering with their activities. He emphasized that the Ministry of Labour is fully prepared to resolve any challenges that may arise, maintaining a harmonious working relationship with the unions.

The historic meeting was graced by esteemed figures, including River Cess County Senator Wellington Gee-von Smith, who is Chairman of Labor of the Liberian Senate, Cllr. Phil TarpehDixson, former Deputy Minister for Manpower Development Planning, and the current Deputy Minister for Manpower and Planning, Madam Hannah Macaulay Karbo, among others. Their presence underscored the significance of this collaboration between the Ministry of Labour and the National Teachers and Health Workers unions.

The Ministry of Labour remains steadfast in its commitment to creating an environment of cooperation and empowerment for these essential sectors of Liberia’s workforce. The certification under the Decent Work Act of 2015, after the intended amendment, signifies a momentous step towards safeguarding the rights and well-being of teachers and health workers, ultimately benefiting the entire nation.

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