The Liberia Labor Congress (LLC) in cooperation with Solidarity Center, recently concluded a three-day meeting to strategize plans that will strengthen advocacy in the labor sector across the country.
LLC is the umbrella organization for workers, including government and private institutions, with a membership of approximately 50,000 across the country, advocating for the rights of employees.
The meeting, which ended on Thursday, November 12, 2019, was supported by the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, a United States-based trade union.
It provided an analysis of the labor congress; a review of its constitution, and the establishment of a new structure and committees, such as the Human Rights Committee to strengthen advocacy on the violation of workers’ rights by employers.
LLC secretary-general, David Sackoh, told journalists that the strategic planning meeting paved the way for a new Labor Congress, “because the institution’s communication strategy in the past has not been effective, thus weakening its advocacy.”
He said much was not heard about LLC in the past, because the organization was always silent, but with the meeting, he believes that there will be a new dynamic about the organization.
Sackoh said with the just-ended meeting, the organization is now being re-branded with a commitment to prioritizing effective communication, and practicing financial accountability to regain the trust of workers and the public.
Silverlyn Saway, executive secretary of the Nation Union of Hospitality, Aviation, Communication, and Energy Workers (NUHACE), who participated in the meeting, said unlike in the past, she believes that the LLC will now participate if the new plans are put into practice.
The president of the National Teachers Association of Liberia, Mary Nyumah, also expressed the hope to see a new LLC that will advance sustained advocacy on the rights of Liberian workers.
Madam Nyumah added, “In the past, the labor congress has been engulfed with controversies, including operating with three separate constitutions, but the constitutions will now be harmonized into a single effective constitution for the organization.”
She said the meeting was also part of the organization’s preparation for its national convention, where the members will have the opportunity to elect new leadership.
Terrence Melvin, President of Coalition of Black Trade Unionists in the U.S., said their facilitation of the strategic planning meeting was directed to helping the LLC get a stronger voice in representing all Liberian workers.
Melvin praised Liberian unionists and their leaders for their commitment to changing their approaches to achieving better living standards and the future of all workers in the country.
He said the gaps that existed in the LLC covered mainly the lack of communication, lack of information and the absence of regular meetings to provide briefings of the unfolding in the labor sector.