• July 12, 2023

Right to Favourable Work Condition… A Big Challenge

Right to Favourable Work Condition…  A Big Challenge
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The Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRCSL) has noted during their numerous monitoring exercise and observations that employees in Sierra Leone continued to experience challenges in enjoying their work-related rights.

Regardless of the facts that the rights to freedom of association is protected under Section 26 of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone, yet in July of 2019, Ministry of Labour and Social Security placed a ban on all trade union activities at the Sierra mine. Bauxite Company, an action that HRCSL says contrary to the provision of Article (3) (2) of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention No.87.

The report disclosed that Mines Workers’ Union (MWU) and the Union of Railway, Plantation, Mineral Industry and Construction Employee (URPMICE) competing for membership, but the company fully support the former whilst majority of the workers preferred to join the latter, HRCSL report state.

The Commission report also mentioned a complaint received between September and October from a local Civil Society Organization call Poor Man’s Friend Justice Centre on behalf of 350 aggrieved workers of the CSE Construction Company for alleged abuse of various labour rights of employees of CSE working on the Hillside Bye–Pass Road Project.

The report narrated that Ministry of Labour and Social Security had created for at least two labour unions to operate in a company, HRCSL during their monitoring observed that all seven of the companies visited did not create the opportunity for alternative unions to operate in their operational sites.

The country’s human rights institution informed that such actions limit the employee’s right to join union of their choice.

Some workers intimated the HRCSL during their monitoring visits that their authorities never consulted with them on their choice of unions permitted to operate and deducted union dues from their salary challenges without consent, contravening Section 26 of the Constitution of Sierra Leone, 1991 and Article 2 of the International Labour Organisation ILO Convention.

The Commission observed challenges in the management’s ability to implement business and human rights standards in their domains, foremost among these challenges were inadequate knowledge of senior management in the application of business and human rights standards in their work operation, the report noted.

The Commission also attributed poor relationship between Mining and Agribusiness companies on the one hand and landowners and other members of the host communities, lack of full implementation of the principle of Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) in land acquisition processes, non-right based implementation of Corporate Social Responsibility (CRS) initiatives in communities and limited adherence to labour rights standards , that include poor safety standards , no opportunity to join alternative trade unions, no contracts for causal workers and short term staff.


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