Monrovia, May 30, 2021… The 109 Session of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Conference has opens with a theme “Reflecting Changes Imposed by The COVID-19 Crisis”.
The conference which is an annual event of the ILO is for the first time in its history being held virtually.
Liberia’s Tripartite partners (Government, the Liberia Labour Congress, representing Workers and Liberia Chamber of Commerce, representing employers) to this year’s conference are meeting at the Boulevard Palace Hotel in Monrovia.
Speaking at the opening of the Session, Labour Minister, Cllr. Charles H. Gibson, head of the Liberia partners told gathering including observers, that business will not be as usual because the world body on labour have recognized that the relationship between employers and workers and the regulation of government have being shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“A lot of adjustment will have to be made to accommodate changes and challenges imposed as a result the impact of the outbreak of the COVID-19. Some of the changes and challenges will even impact the way we interpret our laws, regulations and even impose upon us amendment in some of our laws, because the COVID-19 have drastically changed our usual way of doing things.”
He added that this the first time we have seen workers sent home, people working from home, businesses being shot down and serious challenges have been imposed on fund generating of our government.
“We hope that at end this conference, all governments, workers unions, employers will come consensus on how we respond to these challenges. We will not say much now because we will be officially addressing plenary of the conference from Liberia to respond to statement that had been issued by the Director-General of the ILO and the Chairman of Governing Council.
Speaking on behalf of the workers of Liberia, the Acting President General of Liberia Labour Congress (LLC), Madam Theresa Vaskinda said that workers of Liberia are happy to be a part of the ongoing conference. She outlined some of the challenges the workers of Liberia went through during the heat of the COVID_19 crisis, including layoff, reduction of staff and redundancy.
“We hope that as the COVID-19 situation is going to an end, employers and government will improve their working relationship with workers.”
For his part, the First Vice President of the Liberia Chamber Commerce (LCC) “representing employers” Mr. Tony Hoge thanked the Minister of Labour, Cllr. Charles H. Gibson for ably chairing the meeting which he said is an annual event of labour partners of the ILO which the LCC had always form a part of the Liberian delegation.
“We are here to identify with you and to receive updates, suggestions and recommendations that are coming from the conference in the interest of the labour sector of Liberia. The LCC who speaks for employers will welcome any suggestion as well as provide contribution and support to the government because we also speak for better labour sector in Liberia.
Meanwhile, Labour Minister, Cllr. Charles H. Gibson is expected to address the Plenary of the Conference via Zoom during the course of the deliberation.
The member States of the ILO meet at the International Labour Conference, held every year in Geneva, Switzerland, in the month of June.
Each member State is represented by a delegation consisting of two government delegates, an employer delegate, a worker delegate, and their respective advisers. (Employer and Worker delegates are nominated in agreement with the most representative national organizations of employers and workers.)
Every delegate has the same rights, and all can express themselves freely and vote as they wish. So it happens that worker and employer delegates sometimes vote against their government’s representatives or against each other.