The Liberia Chamber of Commerce (LCC) in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO) on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 launched a 95-page Employers’ Guide for industrial relations in Liberia, which is to serve as a handbook for all employees in Liberia.
The launch was graced by the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Professor Wilson Tarpeh who lauded the initiative by the LCC and the ILO, and further stressed that it will be in the interest of the people of Liberia, particularly the workforce and the Government.
Representatives from the Ministry of Labour, the Liberia Business Association (LIBA), the Liberia Labor Congress and the Liberia Immigration Service among others also graced the occasion and made remarks.
Ms. Stephanie Duncan, LCC Secretary General, who served as one of the facilitators during the Training of Trainers on the Employers’ Handbook said the handbook is important, because according to her, it is largely based on the new labor law in Liberia.
The Liberia Chamber of Commerce acting president, Charles Collins welcomed the participants, and urged them to utilize the knowledge that will be imparted to them by the facilitators. He further challenged the country’s workforce to make use of the Employers’ Guide.
Mrs Julie Kazagui, Senior Specialist for Employers’ Activities, ILO Dakar Decent Work Country Team commended the Liberia Chamber of Commerce for its decision to make “labour laws and industrial relations” the central theme of this ceremony and training sessions. This is a theme that resonates well with the mandate of the organization we represent – the International Labour Organization.
She said the primary goal of the ILO, which celebrates its centenary this year, is to promote opportunities for women and men to obtain decent and productive work, in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity.
In order to reach this goal, she said the ILO pursues four strategic objectives which are at the heart of what is called the Decent Work Agenda and objectives which includes, set and promote standards and fundamental principles and rights at work and, create greater opportunities for women and men to decent employment and income, enhance the coverage and effectiveness of social protection for all and strengthen tripartism and social dialogue.
She said to reach these objectives, the ILO needs, alongside governments and workers organizations, employers’ organizations that are strong, independent, and able to represent and promote the interests of the private sector.
This is the reason why the ILO, through its Bureau for Employers’ Activities (ACT / EMP), that I represent in West Africa as a Senior Specialist, supports the implementation of a technical cooperation program aimed at Employers and Business Members Organizations which focuses on building capacity to improve governance, management systems and practices, to increase membership and for financial sustainability;
Building capacity to create, strengthen and deliver services that respond to the needs of existing and potential members; Increased capacity of employers ‘organizations to analyze the business environment, provide leadership on policy issues and influence policy development.
It is within this context that we have agreed to strengthen LCC capacity to provide services to its members and the business community at large, in the field of labor laws and industrial relations. As an employers’ organization, the Liberia Chamber of Commerce has indeed a critical responsibility to advocate for an environment conducive to business but also to sensitize its members to ensure understanding and compliance to policies, rules and regulations that apply to them. Employers, like all other actors in society, have to respect the laws and to fulfil the obligations arising from them.
The ILO strongly believe that the employers’ good knowledge of labour laws can help prevent disputes and help maintain a peaceful social climate in companies, which is one of the main conditions for increased productivity and profitability economic growth, but also for decent job creation.
The publication by the Liberia Chamber of Commerce, with ILO support, of the Employers’ guide for industrial relations in Liberia should therefore strongly contribute to the improvement of relations at the workplace.
This guide, which is based on the Decent Work Act, is indeed intended to serve as a handbook for all employers in Liberia. It is not exhaustive but it explains the most important provisions, those that are frequent sources of conflict between employees and their employers. Considering the changes brought by the new regulation, the guide should become a reference for all employers in making industrial relations decisions.
In addition to the dissemination of the guide, the training sessions that will be carried out during the coming days will enable LCC to set up a team of trainers that will be able to provide guidance, sensitize businesses and promote decent work. We hope that this will be the beginning of the provision of sustainable services in the field of industrial relations, the ILO speaker concluded.