Liberia: Minimum Wage Board Conducts First Sitting; Outlined Issues Affecting Take-Home By Workers￼
MONROVIA – The Minimum Wage Board of Liberia has held its first Board sitting with all members in attendance.
The Board, which was constituted on the 1st of July 2022, by the President of Liberia in keeping with Chapter 5, Section 5.1 of the Decent Work Act of 2015, comprises of five members including Labour Minister Cllr. Charles H. Gibson as Chairman, Mr. Charles E. Collins of the Liberia Chamber of Commerce (LCC), Madam Theresa T. Viskinda a veteran trade Unionist (LLC), Prof. Geegbae A. Geegbae an economist and Cllr. C. Alexander B. Zoe a senior legal practitioner.
Welcoming members of the Board and the secretariate during the opening of the first Board Meeting, the Chairman, Labour Minister Cllr. Charles H. Gibson observed that after the Minimum Wage Board has been dormant for over a decade and that has seriously affected workers rights to gainful employment over the years. He lauded President George M. Weah for seeing the need and the urgency to constitute the Minimum Wage Board to ensure that workers in the country are not just working but are gainfully employed.
He informed members of the Board that the Liberian people are looking up to them because decision that are to be made will affect both the public and private sector workers of the country.
According to Minister Gibson, the Board will work to ensure that the take-home by workers must be sufficient to maintain the basic needs of their family.
The Minimum Wage Board Chairman further maintained that everyone who is not self-employed for earning will be affected by the decision made by this Board and as such, it is very laudable that a Board is set with a tenue of five years for members nothing, that record they set will serve as a bases for continuity.
He stressed the need for the Board to speak with one voice and to uphold confidentiality in its workings.
He used the occasion to welcome the Economic Adviser to the President, Hon. Charles Bright to the first Board Meeting of the Minimum Wage Board and said the Board will from time to time be borrowing from the expertise of the Economic Adviser and other acknowledgeable Liberians in the successful implementation of its mandate.
In a brief remark, Hon. Bright said, there is great need for the Board to commence it work as quickly as possible because Liberians are aware that the plight of workers are serious due to the difficulty from difference sectors of the economy.
He added that the wages of workers have remain static for many years which had made it difficult to exist and meet the needs of family members, their spouses, children, extended family members, transportation, school fees, the cost of goods in the market and supermarkets.
He noted that all those factors put a strain on the scarce resources that workers earned at the end of a month.
‘Unless we are not successful here, the President will not be successful there. So, we must do all we can to build up the image of the Country by helping the President to succeed” Hon. Bright noted.
He pledged his commitment and to contribute significantly to the working of the Board.
For his part, Prof. Geegbae A. Geegbae, who is also Former Chairman of the Economic Department of the University of Liberia and former Consultant to the Minimum Wage Board between 2009-2011, stressed the need for research and empowerment of the Minimum Wage Board Secretariat of the Ministry of Labour.
The Board is charged with the responsibility to
1. review and recommend minimum wages that will promote the attainment of Decent work of Liberia.
2. review the cost of living and living standards generally prevailing in the country.
3. recommend minimum wages that apply to all employees whose employment is covered by this Act.
4. recommend minimum wages for different economic sectors and occupation.
5. submit annual report to the Minister/Chairman, who shall cause it to be published in the annual report of the ministry.
6. shall state the economic development and growth, including business productivity.