The Labor Law of the Republic of Liberia was enacted in the 1950s and was ideal for the circumstances at the time; however, since then, there has been no official revision of the entire labor code to reflect current day realities. A need for this brought about the creation of the Decent work Bill Act that was sent to the 52nd Legislature.
We went to the polls in 2011 to elect people we felt would articulate and represent our interests and the interests of their constituents, however we continue to be disappointed with the lack of concern or interest of our lawmakers in addressing core issues that would affect the very people they claim to represent and whose interests they claim are paramount.
Although there are several other bills currently before the House for approval, my interest is piqued at the delay once again over the approval of the Decent Work Bill Act that stands to address labor related issues for all Liberians.
When this new body of legislatures took office, it was with bated breath we all looked towards them to speedily pass this bill which was presented to the 52nd legislature in 2009. I was dismayed once again when I saw the headlines around Monrovia this week that the bill had again been put on the back burner of our esteemed lawmakers. Why?
This prolonged bickering of our lawmakers over a Bill that has been put before them for over three years is discouraging. These are the same lawmakers who have passed the Political Parties Sustainability Act after almost no discussion or debate, allocating taxpayers money for their individual political parties.
We continue to see stories in the various newspapers talking about bad labor practices across the country which include wrongful dismissals, flogging of employees, discrimination, abusive attitude, etc. and yet rather than approve a bill which will go a long way in addressing many labor issues affecting employees nationwide, they are more concerned about laws that would only enrich themselves.
I have read the draft bill and can say from what I have read, once approved, the bill will regulate employment relations in Liberia and has a lot of what it takes to provide the necessary protection for workers and employers alike. This bill may be just what Liberia needs at this time to raise the bar of employment relations and human resources practice and seek to make workers and their employers look into the future as they work together in partnership to achieve organizational goals and objectives.
Do our lawmakers even try to take some of these draft bills to their constituents for their view or input? I don’t think so, at least not to my knowledge as the representative for my district (Snowe) has done no such thing.
It is my humble appeal to our lawmakers to please realize the importance of passing this bill and how it will impact the nation as a whole and look at the legacy this may bring to their tenure as legislatures.
Originally published on FrontPageAfrica on September 4, 2012