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2012 Annual Survey of Violations of Trade Union Rights - Liberia

Publisher International Trade Union Confederation
Publication Date 6 June 2012
Cite as International Trade Union Confederation, 2012 Annual Survey of Violations of Trade Union Rights - Liberia, 6 June 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4fd8893ec.html [accessed 13 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Population: 3,994,000
Capital: Monrovia

ILO Core Conventions Ratified:

29 (Forced Labour (1930))
87 (Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise (1948))
98 (Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining (1949))
105 (Abolition of Forced Labour (1957))

Reported Violations – 2012

Murders: none reported
Attempted Murders: none reported
Threats: none reported
Injuries: none reported
Arrests: none reported
Imprisonments: none reported
Dismissals: none reported

Documented violations – actual number of cases may be higher

Introduction

Liberia still needs to reform its labour law, notably to ensure freedom of association in the public sector. Steel giant Arcelor Mittal used contract labour to try to circumvent its obligations, but there were positive signs when it began bargaining with its workers' union in December.

Background

Presidential and Legislative elections took place in October and November. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was re-elected as President. She has been criticized for having failed on several major issues such as corruption, decentralisation and national reconciliation. She was also praised for having maintained political stability and the rule of law. She was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 2011 for her efforts to secure peace, promote economic and social development and strengthen the position of women.

The economy is slowly recovering especially thanks to exports especially rubber. Liberia is rich in timber, gold, diamonds, iron ore and has extensive rubber plantations. However, electricity and running water are still lacking in the capital.

Trade union rights in law

Many shortcomings in the labour law exist, although promises of a reform were made by the Labour Minister in 2006. The Constitution guarantees freedom of association, but employees of state-run enterprises and the civil services cannot form trade unions. In addition, the laws on anti-union discrimination are deficient, and do neither award sufficient protection against discrimination during recruitment or at work, nor do they protect unions against employer interference. Finally, the government's Labour Practices Review Board has the right to supervise trade union elections, and workers in state enterprises do not have collective bargaining rights. Legal strikes are once again on the agenda due to a 2006 law that annulled Decree 12 of 1980, which had banned strikes.

Link to additional detailed information regarding the legislation on the ITUC website here

In practice

Social dialogue weak: Social dialogue remains weak in general and industrial disputes tend to turn violent, notably on the plantations.

Patchy respect of rights by government and multinationals: The government's record on including the Liberia Labour Congress (LLC) in tripartite forums has been patchy. At the same time, it has not managed to prevent big multinational companies from flouting union rights. Arcelor Mittal began operations in Liberia during the year with a very welcome multi-million dollar investment, after agreeing to give a certain number of jobs to Liberians. It quickly gained a reputation for unfairness and poor working conditions, however, by subcontracting its jobs to other companies paying below the minimum wage and providing no job security. In June 2011, the Arcelor Mittal Workers' Union threatened that the company's first shipment of iron ore would not go ahead unless the company released pay scale figures and facilitated collective bargaining. The company finally launched collective bargaining talks with the union at the end of November.

Violations

No entry for this country for this year

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