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Liberian union signs collective agreement

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8 May, 2024IndustriALL affiliated union, United Workers Union of Liberia (UWUL) signed a three-year collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with public utility Liberia Electricity Corporation on 2 May, after months of negotiations.  

The CBA will benefit about 700 workers out of a workforce of over 1200. According to UWUL some of the gains from the collective bargaining agreement, which will cover the period from January 2024 to December 2026, include a 10 per cent increase that will be paid to the lowest paid workers whose average wages are US$250 per month. There will also be a US$50 payment for all workers in the second and third shifts, educational assistance for three dependants of US$110, standby allowances, relocation allowances, and electricity benefits.

The CBA also awards Independence Day bonuses which are paid on 26 July, when the West African country attained independence from the United States of America in 1847, and annual bonuses. For the first time, the union also negotiated for a five-day paid paternity leave.

An article in the CBA also includes provisions on workplace policies that are derived from International Labour Organization Convention 190 on ending gender-based violence and harassment in the world of work. This is the fifth CBA to be signed by UWUL with the Liberia Electricity Corporation. About 33 per cent of the workforce is made up of women.

Vacus Wilmont Kun, director of education and training said: 

“The workers are pleased with the outcome of the negotiations especially the increase in benefits because these have monetary values. For example, the electricity benefits will give workers electricity coupons for six months during the rainy season and this contributes significantly to living wages.”

He further explained that the CBAs have made incremental gains over the years, and this has improved workers livelihoods and that during the rainy season the country’s hydroelectric power generating capacity was at the peak and workers would benefit from this energy generation.

“With the increasing cost of living, we always celebrate when unions negotiate wage deals that are above inflation and increase benefits as this eases the financial pressure on workers and their families. IndustriALL applauds UWUL for continuing the campaign for living wages in the energy sector in Liberia,”

said Paule France Ndessomin, IndustriALL  Sub-Saharan Africa regional secretary.