Labour Minister Cllr. Charles H. Gibson has called on employers and employment institutions in the country to provide unrestricted access for Labour Inspectors to inspect their workplaces for safety, workers’ conditions at work, expatriates in their employ and other labour related violations.
Minister Gibson said it has come to the attention of the Labour Ministry that Labour Inspectorate teams’ work is being hindered due to safety measures at some institutions thus requiring the Ministry to inform them one week before an inspection exercise. “We agree that safety is paramount, but sometimes inspection needs to be impromptu so that the credibility of its outcome is reflective of the actual condition in the workplace”, he added.
Chapter 8.3 of the Decent Work Act of Liberia (Power of Labour Inspectors) mandates Labour Inspectors to enter freely and without previous notice at any hour of the day in a workplace liable to inspection.
Minister Gibson stressed the need for the provision of safety materials for workers in all workplaces across the country.
Minister Gibson made these assertions over the weekend when he led a delegation from the Ministry to inspect the condition of workers at the Bea Mountain operations site in Grand Cape Mount County.
Speaking at a meeting with representatives of the Management and Workers Union of the BEA Mountain, the Labour Minister disclosed that his visit to the company was to share the views of the Ministry of Labour on how it intends to work with actors in the labour sector to improve the conditions of workplaces and workers as well as the economy of the country.
The Labour Minister also frowned on institutions bringing expatriates in the country without acquiring work permit, noting, “They arrive at the airport and are taken strict into camps and later trucked out of the country thereby denying the government of its needed revenue.”
Minister Gibson, however, encouraged the management of Bea Mountain to publish all job vacancies as a means of giving Liberians the opportunity to compete for senior management level jobs at the company. He has at the same time stressed the need for the development of local capacity through the provision of scholarships in order to avoid bringing in the country expatriates.
Also speaking at the meeting, the Country Manager of Bea Mountain, Debar Allen, supported calls by Minister Gibson for the provision of safety materials for workers as well as the enforcement of safety measures at the company, adding that “Error on the part of one worker could affect the safety of the entire workforce.”
The Bea Mountain Manager then assured Minister Gibson of his company’s preparedness to ensure that safety is adhered to at all times in their workplaces.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Labour has scheduled a series of conferences with the Management of Bea Mountain and its subcontractor company, “DEKO Mining,” to discuss issues relating to the operations of the companies in the country.
The Minister and delegation toured several facilities of the company’s workplace to have a sense of work and workers’ conditions.