South Africa pays tribute to outgoing ILO Director General Juan Somavia and welcomes DG-elect Guy Ryder
13 Jun 2012South Africa has paid a glowing tribute to the outgoing Director-General of the International Labour Organisation Juan Somavia
“In the context of weak economic growth, a resurgence of austerity and calls for greater labour market flexibility, the interests of labour will need strong support in the years ahead, “ said the Minister of Labour, Mildred Oliphant.
Speaking at the International Labour Conference in Geneva, Oliphant called Somavia a true friend of Africa who was instrumental in introducing and championing some of the defining concepts being adopted the world over to improve the lives of citizens.
“Many of these areas have a strong resonance with the social and development priorities of the continent and its people – the Decent Work Agenda and the Social Protection floor are just two that come to mind.
South Africa had taken a cue from some of these development priorities and has introduced the concept of Decent Work to underpin its employment creation drive.
“Decent work is work done under conditions of freedom, equity, where people have a right to join their unions and be free to speak their minds. Our struggles have been about decent life for all our people,” she said.
The ILO has had a significant influence on the policies adopted by South Africa.
“Central to our approach is recognition of the enormous responsibility on all social partners to contribute in different ways. In particular, to contribute through effective social dialogue to the creation of more and better jobs.
“The New Growth Path makes decent work central to efforts to stimulate the rate of economic growth and the employment intensity of that growth. The draft National Development Plan – Vision for 2030 for South Africa that is now being finalised has also elevated decent work in its proposals for development and labour policies to take the country forward to 2030. The plan recognises the importance of balancing the need for faster expansion of employment opportunities with the protection of labour rights,” she said.
The South African Decent Work Country Programme has made good progress in formulating a set of Decent Work Indicators drawing on official statistics available in South Africa, complemented by administrative data.
“The technical support of the ILO must be acknowledged in this regard and also in relation to the support provided in a number of other areas. ILO Technical Assistance has been provided to the country’s Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) and also to the more recently established Community Works Programme. In the light of the structural unemployment problem faced by South Africa, public works programmes continue to have an important place in our active labour market policies,” she said.
She told the Assembly that South Africa has made progress towards ratification of Convention 81 on Labour Inspection, Convention 129 on Labour inspection on farms and Convention 189 on Domestic Workers. Work is also progressing on a review of Code of Good Practice and Technical Assistance guidelines on HIV/AIDS in the light of ILO Recommendation number 200 concerning HIV and AIDS and the World of Work.
“With technical assistance of the ILO, we have recently completed an analysis of the prospects of ratification of ILO Convention 102: Social Security (Minimum Standards) which seeks to strengthen social security as a response to the global economic crisis and enhancing the Decent Work Agenda,” she said.
She welcomed the DG-elect Mr Guy Ryder who takes over the reigns from October this year. She also congratulated South Sudan for being the latest nation to join the ILO.
“We all know that South Sudan has come a long way to be the world’s youngest nation and even though challenges still remain, they have proved that dialogue, the centrepiece of our work, does indeed work,” she said.
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Issued by: Department of Labour
13 Jun 2012
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