Labour Minister Cllr. Charles Gibson says his administration will focus on three cardinal areas in administering the Labour Sector of Liberia. He named, curtailing unrest in the labour sector, improving the relationship between employers and employees, and working to ensure that with right environment employers will expand their investment to employ more people. Not contract or lay-off.
“As a Minister of Labour, you like a twin’s mother with two breasts and when one child which is the employee feels that he must suck more, but is the employer that gives the milk to both breast. And so is a dedicated balance that we have to work to achieve. While we promote the interest of workers, we must be sensitive to the constraint of employers. The new Deputy of Planning and Assistant for Trade Union Affairs are all dedicated to that preposition that the Ministry of Labour has the statutory responsibility to administer the Labour Law of Liberia.”
Cllr. Gibson made these assertions on Monday, October 12, 2020 when he officially took over as Minister of Labour of the Republic of Liberia along with the Deputy Minister for Planning and Manpower Development, Madam Hannah M. Karbo and Hon. Zoe Mensah, Assistant Minister for Trade Affairs and Social Dialogue. Cllr. Gibson took over from Hon. Moses Y. Kollie, first Minister of Labour under the CDC-led Government. Minister Kollie who served the Ministry for over two years, now goes to the Liberia Civil Aviation Authority (LCAA) as Director General. The program was held in the conference room of the Ministry of Labour, Ministerial Complex, Congo Town, Monrovia, Liberia.
The new Labour Minister further noted “The President preferring me for this job had clearly in his mind that I can perform the task and I will stand to achieve that through a team work. We heard all the things the former Minister did and he said it was achieved through team work and now that he is leaving, but the team is here, so we look forward to build on those achievements.”
Minister Gibson promised to ensure that the capacity of the workforce of Liberia is constantly improved so where investor cannot find a professional for a particular area in Liberia; the Ministry of Labour can give a permit to bring in expatriates who must also dispose to training at least two Liberians in that area. After five years, we wouldn’t have to import that professional again.
“This place is like a palava hut for social dialogue. From my study, labour is one variable that is used in measuring the economic stability of a country. It attracts investors or scares them away. If there is always unrest and hostilities in the labour sector, you can have the best professionals, they will go away. Business people don’t want often time litigations, but we also have to ensure that the workers receive their just benefits at all times. Where there is constraint in delivering that, it should be discussed and a middle ground will be found”.
Minister Gibson said that though the Liberia is not an industrialized nation, but the Ministry of Labour can help Liberia achieve that level. He said that the Ministries of Finance, Commerce and the National Investment Commission (NIC), will attract the investors and investments, it is the Ministry of Labour how it conducts it affairs and how the workers relate to the employers will to a large influence whether they stay or park-up and leave.
The new Labour Boss added that he is committed to working with all partners as well as employees of the Ministry noting that “This is not a bore job anymore for me because we have served in different capacities in this government, but we have to put in more times because the expectation is very high, the demands are high and as such, team work will be the formula to achieve that.
Anything we need to know to push this agenda forward, Minister Kollie, you will be consulted to advise us in the process. As a Lawyer, my way of doing things may be different, but all will boil down to achieving the objective to which I was called.”
Earlier in his turning over statement, former Labour Minister, Moses Y. Kollie outlined the functions of the Ministry and some achievements made by his administration during his service.
“ Minister as you may be aware, the Vision of this Ministry is to (Harmonize and Restore Dignity to the Liberian Labour Force) including many other responsibilities that you are about to undertake. Just to name a few; the Ministry is also charged with the task of leading the fight against trafficking in persons which is the heart-beat of the International Community and child labour. I trust that with your professional background, you will succeed in these fight as Chairman of the Task-force and with seven other government ministries and agencies as well as local and international partners.”
Former Kollie informed his successor that every department and section of the Ministry is important to implementation of the mandate of the ministry.
He said that Ministry currently has a senior management team of eight (8) Presidential Appointees, Twenty-three (23) senior staff including (Directors and other Sectional heads) and a total workforce of 263. He added that out of this number, 145 are Civil Servants, 110 are contractors and 8 are Presidential appointees.
Former Kollie thanked the President of the Republic of Liberia, H. E. George Manneh Weah for the opportunity provided to serve as Minister of Labour and employees and staff of the Ministry for their cooperation and team work.