July 18, 2019
By Jariatu S. Bangura
Members of the Sierra Leone Parliament have ratified several International Conventions and Protocols that are geared towards upholding International Labour and Social Security Laws related to the development and advancement of labour laws across the country, with the view to meeting international best practices.
The conventions include: C160- Labour Statistics Convention, 1985, C189- Domestic Workers Convention of 2011(NO.189), C102- Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention of 1952, C150- Labour Administration Convention of 1978, Convention 181 Private Employment Agency and Protocol 029 of 2014 the Forced Labour Convention, 1930
Minister of Labour and Social Security, Adekunle King, said Sierra Leone has been a member of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and that the country needed to ratify laws that will help improve labour laws in ensuring workers safety.
He said if the conventions were ratified, it would enable Sierra Leone to connect statistical systems in the country.
He said the minimum objectives of the Convention relate to all nine branches, percentage of the population protected by social security schemes, the level of the minimum benefit to be secured to protected persons, as well as the conditions for entitlement and period of entitlement to benefits.
He said convention 150 provides that persons interested have right to access information held by bodies with public responsibility for the environment.
He further stated that Convention 189 and Recommendation 201 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers,aimed at improving the working and living conditions of tens of millions of domestic workers worldwide.
He added that one purpose of Convention 181 will allow the operation of private employment agencies as well as the protection of the workers using their services, within the framework of its provisions.
Contributing to the debate, opposition Whip, Hon. Hassan A. Sesay, said many a times when people heard of overseas jobs, they thought it to be a decent job not knowing the danger that lies ahead.
“Sometimes people working in those countries are used as sex workers especially those in the Middle East,” he said.
He said with those conventions or laws put in place, it will help restore the dignity and respect that due them.
He cautioned that the conventions must serve as a warning signal to the several issues of migration as people are perishing in search of greener pastures.
He also cautioned that whenever people go out for work, things must be done in the right way.
He also stated that the resources that the International Organization for Migration (IOM) are using on migration issues should be invested in the country as a way of stopping people to migrate.
He urged the ministry to do what is right in making sure that all that have been stated in the said conventions be a reality to the people as unemployment of youth is not a new thing in Africa.
P.C Bai Kurr Kanagbaro Sanka III said it is embarrassing for some dignitaries to visit member state and could not receive the requisite respect they ought to have because their country failed to sign treaties or conventions.
He said the country has lost a lot of money due to the fact that Sierra Leone has not been paying it dues to the International Labour Organization, though recently the government has started making such payment.
He urged Chairmen of various committees in Parliament to crosscheck all their oversight ministries, departments and agencies for any responsible treaties or conventions that they ought to sign.
He stated that most security companies are recruiting locals on a 24/7 basis and later pay them pittance, not even to that of the minimum wage.
“So many companies are coming into the country but do not have respect for Sierra Leoneans. There are so many intellectuals but could not share it out and they leave it within their heads because they are not paid as foreigners. They pay foreigners more than the locals that have more knowledge than them but are paid over 10,000 United States dollars,” he said.