Government is committed to protecting employment rights – President Koroma

My administration is committed to creating a friendly and conducive environment for workers and employers with an attractive environment for investment, President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma told a mammoth crowd of workers during International Workers Day celebrations on Monday, 1st May 2017, at the forecourt of the Miatta Conference Center, Brookfields in Freetown.

Speaking on the theme of this year’s commemoration; “Promoting Employment Rights”, President Koroma pointed out that the appropriateness and timeliness of the theme was in sync with government’s programmes in having good working conditions and an effective and efficient workforce. He also registered his commitment to strengthen the relationship with the Sierra Leone Labour Congress (SLLC) and assured that the challenges raised by the congress will be addressed. President Koroma described his government as a listening one that will ensure that the issues facing workers are given utmost attention.

“We need to have a happy workforce,” the president said, and expressed hope that the efforts, energy and efficiency of the Sierra Leonean workforce will significantly help to build the country. He emphasized that government’s commitment to promoting and safeguarding the labour force has been captured in the domestication of international labour laws.

President Koroma also urged workers to unionize because unions provide the legitimate platform for their leadership to advocate peacefully for the rights of workers. He disclosed that government has started weeding out officials in the various ministries involved in fraudulent overseas employment. “All of these fraudulent activities take place in these ministries and we need to weed out those officials,” he vowed.

The Minister of Labour and Social Security (MLSS) Mr Matthew Teambo said his ministry has made tremendous progress in promoting and safeguarding the country’s labour force. He highlighted some of the achievements government has made to protect employment rights, including a labour force survey, National Employment Policy, Migration Policy, reform of the existing labour laws as well as working on a national social health insurance policy that will be of huge benefit to all workers.

Delivering his statement, the Director General of the National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT) Mr Sedu Mans said NASSIT was established to safeguard and protect the interest of workers.

The Acting President of the Sierra Leone Labour Congress (SLLC) Mr Jennings AB Wright described International Workers Day dubbed May Day as a red letter day for all workers in the country. He thanked the government for the transformative strides in infrastructure, energy, health and other sectors, and the establishment of the Legal Aid Board. He called on government to support and strengthen the Labour Ministry and review the Social Security Act. He also expressed concerns of premature retirement of civil servants with the exclusion of the SLLC and the Civil Servants Union, teachers and nurses that are not on payroll, pensions, timely payment of subsidies to primary schools among others.

Awards to deserving individuals and institutions climaxed the colourful ceremony.

New Human Rights Commissioners take oath of Office

Newly appointed Commissioners of the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRCSL) on Tuesday, 2 May 2017, subscribed to the oath of office at a ceremony at State House in Freetown. The three newly appointed commissioners are Mr Rashid Dumbuya, Rev. Dr Usman Jessie Fornah and Ms. Grace Coleridge-Taylor.

Congratulating the appointees, President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma said the commissioners were coming in at a time when the country’s human rights record is at its best since independence in 1961. He pointed out that the country’s human rights commission was upgraded to a class A status by the United Nations Human Rights Council, adding that Sierra Leone is now a member of the UN Human Rights Council, indicating that it was as a result of the recognition of the significant gains and progress made to improve the country’s human rights record. “We can now boast of an excellent human rights record and for almost ten years now we have not had any political prisoner,” he said. He expressed hope that the incoming commissioners will show commitment to sustaining these efforts and hope that their experiences and qualifications will help them to discharge their duties and fly the flag of Sierra Leone.

On behalf of the appointees, Ms. Grace Coleridge-Taylor thanked President Koroma for the trust and confidence reposed in them and promised to carry out their duties with utmost diligence and to make Sierra Leone proud.