Members of the Liberia Labor Congress (LLC) headed by it president, Thursday September 6, 2012 staged a peace protest at the Capitol Building in Monrovia in protest against the passage of the Decent Work Bill without including anew minimum wage bill.
Speaking during the protest, the President of the LLC, Madam Elitha T. Manning, said the Decent Work bill was passed by the House of Representatives without anything decent in it for workers across the country. "The basis of the Decent Work bill was to set a new minimum wage but they did not do that.
The bill cannot be decent if you still have your people still going through the old $0.50 per hour rate in this country. This is unacceptable and we will not rest until it is resolved. I been to prison and I am not afraid to go there again," she said.
It can be recalled that the House of Representatives passed the Decent Work bill early this week, but did not set a minimum wage for workers. The bill seeks to provide decent working environment and raise the pay for workers especially unskilled laborers in the country to meet current reality.
The Labor union boss said the current minimum wage, which was set in the 1970s is completely out of touch with modern day reality. Madam Manning attributed the low standard of life for ordinary citizens in the country to what she called 'underpayment backed by the labor law.'
She told the lawmakers to set out a new minimum wage of $6.46 or else labor congress will rally around the entire labor force to stay away from work until the demand of the "new" minimum wage is adhered to. However, speaking to reporters, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, J. Alex Tyler, said the decision to set a new minimum wage cannot be made by the lawmaker.
"We cannot make that decision. It requires expert in the labor sector to do the calculation. If we agree to set any wage, employers start reducing staff because they cannot pay them (employees) and the trouble will be on us. We want to use this time to ask the labor union to be patient a wait," he added.