By R Joyclyn Wea
Officials of the Ministry of Labor (MOL) are expected to appear before the Monrovia city court next week to answer to complaints filed against the Ministry by two separate institutions.
Deputy Labor Minister, Phil Tarpeh Dixon
The Ministry of Labor is the institution of government among other things clothed with the authority of intervening matter relating to workers and employers as well as ensuring an enabling environment or framework for smooth operations between employees and their bosses.
The entity was sued by a group under the banner “Concern Workers of Firestone” who are said to be opposing the conduct of the Workers Union elections at the plantation and that of the Liberia Agriculture Company (LAC) for fines imposed on the company by the Ministry of labor.
Making the disclosure Thursday at the Ministry of Information Cultural Affairs and Tourism, Deputy Labor Minister for Manpower, Planning and Development, Phil Tarpeh Dixon said the lawsuit comes in the wake of effort by the ministry to protect the wellbeing of workers of Liberia.
According to Minister Dixon, the Liberia Agriculture Company has also taken the Ministry of Labor to court for what the institution calls ‘wrongful fines and breach of law’.
Minister Dixon further explained that the LAC has for the past fifteen years reportedly refused to pay for any work permit on grounds that the company has contested that they are not to pay for work permit in line with law which the MOL disagreed with.
The ministry according to him imposed a fine on the company and asked them to pay the Liberian Government all the years they have been non-compliance which according to Dixon amounts to over US$7000.00 plus additional five hundred United States dollars.
The Liberia Agriculture Company is contesting the amount; a reliance for their lawsuit with the civil law court against the Ministry of Labor.
Similarly, Dixon claimed the contesting group is closely connected or in harmony with the management as reason for objecting the demeanor of workers union election on the plantation.
The MOL executive explained that the lawsuit is as the result of the ministry instructing or demanding that the elections be held and in keeping with law, something which the group had resolved to take up the option to take the ministry to court.
“We have filed our respective briefs and expect to meet them in court next week,” he revealed.
Dixon explained that when they took over the ministry, there was a great need for justice by putting in a process where there can be speedy redress of issues adding “So we are asking everyone to do the work for which they were pay for noting in as much as we want to uphold the rights of workers, we are asking employees also to be productive, innovative so that Liberia would be a good place of doing business because we have skilled workers who are capable and willing to deliver.”