The Association of Liberian Human Resources Professionals (ALHRP) seizes this chance to raise the value of all workers in Liberia: Public and Private sectors, formal and informal on the occurrence to celebrate May 1st as International Labour Day. May 1st is not honored as a sheer event or bluff but as a time to mirror on how having a decent, motivated, valued workforce can lead to towards uniting employees; promoting economic growth and social growth in Liberia. Labour Day celebration is relevant to our efforts in raising the economic gains made so far by the Liberian government and also using the same as a groundwork for understanding our dream of transforming the Liberian workforce from a laborer based to a new and flourishing country.
Today, ALHRP is celebrating Labour Day at a time in Liberia when we continued to enjoy peace and stability for the last 15 years. Whilst we are enjoying peace and stability, the economy is still not too stunning to attract investors that will further help in rejuvenating the economic and creating more jobs for Liberians. There are challenges with employment- whilst other employees are enjoying in other parts of the world, some workers in Liberia are still not being paid on time; workers salaries have been subjectively deducted and more deductions are still pending in the public sector. Some workers have been bullied and even dismissed because of their political affiliations; and workers in the public sector still do not have the right to peacefully assembled as union to bargain for better and decent work environment; but yet we still have peace to celebrate May 1 as labor day in the mist of all the compounding defies.
Fellow employees, whilst we seem determined as a Country and employers to create a better and decent work environment for everyone in the informal and informal sectors, many of our colleagues in the public and private sectors are still operating way below capacity or had shut down or scale down thereby leaving many of our brother and sisters unemployed. Many workers are also being laid off day by day or made jobless by plants due to controllable and uncontrollable circumstances by government and businesses.
Subsequently, most of our goods in Liberia, including basic essential goods are still being imported from neighboring countries with high tariff; thereby increasing the price on the local market that even reduces the purchasing power of employees. The Labor force in Liberia is therefore not making progressive contribution to the economic growth of Liberia through manufacturing production.
Today, visit the stores around Liberia and visit the supermarkets; not many Liberian are behind the counters; not many Liberians have access to loan to open their own business; not many tables of shops and superstores in Liberia are stockpiled with locally made products. Visit the market places, the market women hardly get a dividend of their effort. The renaissance of the industrial sector has contributed very little to employment opportunities in Liberia.
In addition, because of the privation of sustainable economic activities, Liberia inflation rate was recorded at 28.50 percent in December of 2018; with an average of 8.67 percent from 1968 until 2018, reaching an all-time high of 28.50 percent in December of 2018. Whist it is true the government is making efforts to stimulate the economic, we still see the skyrocketing of the rate: US vs LRD thereby increasing the prices of commodities on the local market. We encourage our government to do more by exploring sustainable measure to stabilize the rate; create investment opportunities in the agricultural sector, tourism, connecting farms to market roads, investing in domestic transportation; investing in Liberian entrepreneurship; creating access to financing for local businesses; investing in stable and affordable electricity for all Liberians; etc and above all creating an empowered and stable business environment that will help to revitalize our economy in total. We also want to commend the government for the issuance of Executive Order 95- new labor regulation to extend the tenure of work permit to 5 years; but foreigners will only be attracted to come if the environment is conductive not only by relaxing the rigorous measures in acquiring the work permit
We also want to say that any politician or employees who are involved in financial malpractices should be investigated and prosecuted when found guilty; losing tax payers to dishonest officials without any prosecution is unfair to the Liberian workforce; and it will be the vilest thing employees of Liberia will ever face- it will keep people living in poverty.
Under this year team for Labor Day celebration: “Uniting Workers for Social and Economic Advancement”. To keep employees united for social and economic growth; our workplaces must be free of all sort of harassments; the numbers of females’ workers must increase –companies must give opportunities to women to work; the disable, mental health must all be given the opportunity to work and not stigmatized them based on their condition. Employees must be able to take decent salary for the social protection for their families; employees must not be seen as tools or machines but as assets through which the organization survives. Arbitrary pay deduction must not be applicable to employees as a means for government or organization to institute their austerity measures. To keep the workforce united; public sector employees must have the right to unionize to make a case for a decent and better work environment; to keep a united workforce; the Civil Service Standing order and Decent Work Act must be merged as a one document to promote decent work and economic growth in total. To have a uniting workforce for social and economic advancement, there must be programs to develop the skills set of the youthful population of Liberia to enable them compete for jobs of their desire.
To conclude, ALHRP therefore settles by influencing all leaders of Liberia to marshal the societies, and employers in increasing the value of hard work and decent work environment for all. By working; it is the only way Liberians can walk out of the trap of poverty. We therefore, urge all Liberians, employees that in the mist of the challenges let us grow an optimistic attitude to work and unit stronger than before for Social and Economic Advancement. ALHRP says thank you to all employees for pushing boundaries to ensure your organization succeeds in the mist of Challenges-Happy Day.