Civil Servants Might End Strike Soon

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… As Gov’t begins payments of salary arrears

The nationwide strike action by the Civil Servants Union of Liberia, which began yesterday, might end soon as government has begun to disburse outstanding salary arrears.

Although both sides still have some outstanding and have not agreed on a deal yet, the move by the government to begin the disburse the employees’ salaries arrears is a show of compliance with the Union’s demands.

While the impact of the strike action yesterday was not huge, it still hinders government operations as many workers did not show up for work.

Earlier, the union demanded the regularization of its members’ salaries and full payment of all outstanding salary arrears—something which the government might not be able to commit itself looking at the current economic situation.

“We are not deterred by the turnout and will press on if the government fails to meet our demands,” said Moibah K. Johnson, president of the Civil Servants’ Union of Liberia. “While we have not agreed on a deal yet to call off the strike, the message has gotten across. It is not numbers we are looking at, but its impact and this is exactly what happened today.

“Because of the strike, the government has now begun the payments of civil servants salary arrears but not in full compliance. We requested down-payments of all outstanding salaries, but the government is only paying for two months when they owed more than four to five months,” he said.

Mr. Johnson further added that the next cause of actions will be determined later today, December 17, at the end of meetings with the government negotiating team to a final deal with the Union.

The ongoing strike, if it continues without any deal, will badly affect government operations and service deliveries, as more workers will join their colleagues and stay home.

“We are excited about the meetings and hope something good comes out of it.  If not, we might likely continue our action,” Mr. Johnson said. “However, I am sure this will not be the case, as we all want to find an amicable solution to the problem. We never wanted to strike but the government forced us since they reneged on their obligations in the first deal we had.”

While the government has now begun payment of its worker salaries, the liquidity crunch in the country had made it difficult for the union members to redraw monies from their respective bank accounts, especially in Liberian dollars.

“Currently, our members are not getting Liberian dollars from the banks, but the situation is not the same with the United States Dollars. However, this situation needs to be resolved quickly and we hope that the government does, if we will agree on a deal.

“As a union, we attach serious interest to the well-being of our members and will not sit idly and allow them to swim hopelessly in the bottomless pit of not being able to redraw monies from their accounts during the festive season,” Mr. Johnson added.

Meanwhile, Cletus Noah, the Special Assistant to the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, has confirmed that the government has begun the payment of civil servant salary arrears.

“Yes, we have completed salaries for October and have started payment for November as well,” Noah said in a text message response to a question from the Daily Observer.

The Civil Servants Union of Liberia is the mother body of all government employees across the country.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Make sure to pay people at the end of every month Mr. President. In so doing, you do not only stabilize their lives, but you also give them the impetus to be creative and do their job with love.
    Do not wait to be threatened by strike actions before you pay salaries. Please stabilize salaries!
    You came to fix things, start by stabilizing salaries.

  2. While I appreciate Mr. Johnson’s comments concerning this grave salary issue, I still do not understand the relevance of the phrase “festive activities or Christmas” he attaches to it.

    The civil servants’ demand for their salary arrears surround issues of life and death and bread and butter on the tables of everyday people, and their ability to provide health care for themselves and their families.
    The phrase “festive activities or Christmas” has the propensity to detract from the core message of the protesters as the issue goes far deeper than only giving peanuts to marginalized people to live on around Christmas! I think Liberians are a smart people, and they have the ability to think above this level.

    Even Satan loves Christmas because he sees it as a great opportunity to easily exploit a docile population like Liberians. A prevalent belief that many of our so-called leaders have in common about Liberians is their high sense of religiosity and spirituality makes them trepid and exploitative. The least mention of “Jesus” makes them to kowtow to every unimaginable form of injustice.

    What an irony to have a president who is extremely religious until he extracts swaths of public money and erects a godlike statue of himself, but nevertheless he holds his people under the crippling grip of poverty and misery?

    This act is sacrilegious because God is not a God of hunger, poverty, manipulation, lying tongue, and strife. He is a God of plenty, and according to His Word, He will not allow His children to beg for sustenance for he will supply their needs.

    Civil servants’ salaries are not to be toyed with as they concern their livelihood. Now is the time for the government to permanently find the solution to this crisis, and it should go beyond Christmas.

  3. Right to be anonymous, you are a big fool to believe “the President holds his people under the crippling grip of poverty and misery”; when the whole world knows this economic hardship was inflicted by corrupt Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Joseph Boakai, Robert Sirleaf, Benoni Urey, and their extremely corrupt Unity Party.

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