11 December 2012

Liberia: RIA, Workers Sign Agreement

Members of the National Brotherhood Teamsters (NBT) and the Roberts International Airport (RIA) and members of the RIA workers Union,Thursday signed a collective bargaining agreement to improve the working conditions of workers at the RIA.

The agreement seeks to provide a "friendly working environment and increment" in the basic immunities of workers at the entity.

Mr. J. Nyemah Natt, president of the NBT who spoke at the event held at the Royal Hotel in Monrovia, described the event as "historic", noting that since the inception of the RIA in 1964, no such agreement has been signed between the workers and management.

He affirmed that the agreement will highly address issues raised by the workers at the RIA, disclosing that the agreement also carries a US$100 across "the board as an increment" for all the workers.

The president of the RIA workers union, Mellish Weh, also expressed optimism over the implementation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and encouraged his colleagues to be patient while awaiting its implementation.

Mr. Robert F. Morris, acting General Manager at the RIA, told the the gathering that he is "glad and relieved" to form a part of the ceremony.

"We had some heated days; we have been going through this thing for almost a year now. Some of us have gotten very close. I am glad that today, we can be here signing this CBA.

"This is indeed not only a historic day but a momentous occasion too. It is actually a day for not only the employees, or the workers but for management also. This CBA is for the benefit of all of us," Morris said.

He also expressed the hope that it will benefit everyone at the entity, and assured all stakeholders that the management would do everything to support the agreement.

"There is no issue between management and workers; everybody knows that. So, we can put the rumor mongers to rest. We want to move this place (RIA) forward. We want to see how we can get a more efficient team and an airport that would make us proud as a nation," he said.

The Assistance Minister of Labor for Trade Union affairs, Mr. Micheal B. Wah Jr. assured the workers that the ministry would always do what is right to protect them. But he challenged them to do the "right thing by respecting law and order" at their various place of work.

"I can honestly and sincerely say that I am happy to be here. We are indeed happy that RIA has reached this milestone. For us, we believe that the workers of Liberia must save for raining day.

"We believe that after your working period, you must be able to reflect and say when I was working at RIA, this is what I got or this is what I achieved," Mr. Wah added.

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