The Ministry of Labour has with immediate effect suspended the Trade Union Certificate of the Dockworkers Union of Liberia (DOWUL) at the National Port Authority (NPA) pending the outcome of an ongoing investigation into an alleged report of instigating violence at the APM Terminals in the Free Port of Monrovia.
The Ministry is at the same time encouraging the workers of the APM Terminals to return to work immediately, while discussions are ongoing into their concerns in keeping with provisions of the Decent Work Act (DWA).
The action to suspend the certificate of the union, according to a Ministry of Labor release, is in line with section 36.5 of the Decent Work Act (DWA) of Liberia.
In a communication addressed to Madam Jackie N. Doe, President of the Union, Labour Minister Moses Yarkpazuo Kollie reminded her that, on September 29, 2020, at about 7:15 p.m., the Ministry of Labour received phone calls from the Management of APM Terminals informing the Ministry that workers of the said entity have staged a go-slow or strike action with instruction from the unions’ leadership. When contacted for her reaction, Madam Doe confirmed that she authorized said go-slow or strike action even though the Ministry was not informed about such action which contravenes the DWA.
After several conversations with Madam Doe on the phone failed, the Ministry invited her to a meeting with Atty. Welma B. Sampson, Assistant Minister for Labour Standards and Mr. Boikai M. Sirleaf, Director of Trade Union Affairs and Social Dialogue, at which time she and the leadership of the Union at the APM Terminals were advised to proceed to the APM Terminals in order to encourage the workers to resume work, while discussions are ongoing — something which, the Ministry said, Madam Doe and other leaders of the union had failed to do.
The Ministry further said, on September 30, 2020, the Management of APM Terminals again called, informing the Ministry that the workers on second shift have not resumed work, as was requested by the Ministry and that the union continued their strike action without any complaint against the management to the Ministry of Labour, as required by the Decent Work Act of Liberia.
Meanwhile, the Ministry has termed this action on the part of Madam Jackie Doe as impoliteness to constituted authorities, something which, the Ministry believes, must not have happened.