12 November 2012

Liberia: 'Don't Make Minimum Wage Bill Controversial' - FAWUL Secretary General Asserts

The tough talking Secretary General of the Firestone Agricultural Workers Union of Liberia (FAWUL), Mr. Edwin B. Cisco says employers in the country should or must not make the minimum wage component of the Decent Work Bill controversial.

In an interview with this paper in Harbel, Mr. Cisco said there were many important issues within the Decent Work Bill that needed to be worked on, but stressed that the issue of the minimum wage aspect of the Bill should not be compromised.

The FAWUL Secretary General however did not mention an employer or stakeholder, but said that there companies that were trying to make the minimum wage aspect of the Bill controversial on grounds that they were not willing to pay employees good wages and salaries.

He further said that in every decent working environment, there needed to be decent pay or wages for those who work on a daily basis, and said "the minimum wage component of the bill should not be taken lightly, stressing that workers everywhere needed to live a decent life."

The FAWUL Secretary General who just returned from a labor conference in Canada, said employers around the country were making the minimum wage component of the Bill controversial, something he said was not fruitful for the country, and added "Decent work must also go along with decent pay."

Mr. Cisco revealed that upon the return of the 53rd National Legislature, the workers union of Liberia will petition it (Legislature) to see reason to pass the minimum wage bill which Mr. Cisco said it will add value to workers across the country if this was done.

It can be recalled that members of the 53rd National Legislature from the House of Representatives passed the Decent Work Bill leaving out the Minimum Wage component on grounds that they, lawmakers were not technicians, a lawmaker of Grand Kru County Representative Wesseh Blamo said, but instead will set up a minimum wage board to address the wages and salary of workers across the country, something which has drawn the attention of many labor unions and human rights activists in the country as being unfair to the labor force of the country.

In 2011, former Margibi County Junior Senator Roland C. Kaine introduced to the National Legislature the Minimum Wage Bill seeking to improve the living conditions of workers in the country through good wages, and was passed by the fifty second National Legislature at the house of the Senate at the rate of six united states dollars forty cents a day combining the two bills into one calling it the New Labor Law of Liberia.

It was greeted with controversies at the Lower House when members there passed it at seven dollars twenty cents United States dollars, and therefore remains in coma today awaiting the return of some lawmakers after the 2011 elections.

Touching on the Canada Conference, Mr. Cisco said the American Labor Solidarity Center; the Montreal University of Canada among other labor organizations invited several labor unions from Africa including Liberia to form part of the conference. He revealed that they, the conferees decided among other things to form alliance and highlighted the issue of regional and internal interventions

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