New programme to boost role of workers


14-May-2009

They form part of the newly set-up Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP), which has a set of objectives and targets structured around the country’s specific development priorities.
 
A one-day workshop was held yesterday at the Maison Football, Roche Caïman, to discuss setting up the programme, with representatives of the Ministry of Employment and Human Resources Development, employers and workers taking part.

Mr Raguin (second from left in photo above) addressing delegates at the opening of the workshop

A DWCP is drawn up by the International Labour Organisation, adapted to national situations and priorities, and integrates ILO cooperation in a framework enabling a country to make progress in reaching its ‘decent work’ goal.

The workshop was launched by principal secretary for employment Jean Raguin in the presence of George Okhutho, director of the ILO’s sub-regional office for Eastern Africa; Gilbert Sultan Beaudoin, executive secretary of the Association of Seychelles Employers; and Antoine Robinson, secretary-general of the Seychelles Federation of Workers Union (SFWU).

Addressing the delegates, Mr Raguin said decent work is all about recognising workers’ rights and obligations and also the promotion of good working conditions and freedom of choice, all within the context of recognised policies, laws and standards.

He also said it is the ability to take part in decisions affecting working conditions – in other words social justice.

“We in Seychelles recognise and positively appreciate the ILO approach to achieving poverty alleviation, social protection, productive employment, and social cohesion and inclusion through the advancement of a decent work agenda,” he said.

This is a sensitive exercise, and great care is being taken to ensure the analysis is thorough and the programme’s objectives are neutrally selected to reflect the real needs of the country and its tripartite representatives, he added.

Mr Okhutho said in a time of profound global economic turbulence, the social justice message and mandate of the ILO are as relevant as they were at its founding. The crisis gives added significance and an opportunity to focus on protecting people and sustaining enterprise.

He said the ILO is aware of the bold economic reform measures the Seychelles government has taken to address the difficulties the country is facing.

The ILO will provide a team of specialists who will offer technical advice and guidance until the DWCP document is finalised, Mr Okhutho added. But for it to be meaningful, Seychelles should take full control of the process.

He also acknowledged the key roles the government and people of Seychelles continue to play in promoting international labour standards and in creating an environment conducive to peaceful, harmonious and productivity-sensitive relations.

In his opening speech, Mr Robinson said the workers of Seychelles understand and embrace the ILO’s decent work agenda with its four main aims – protection of rights at work, employment protection, social protection and social dialogue.

He called for social dialogue to be made more effective, with genuine consultation meetings being held. This is why the SFWU agreed that, as part of the country programme, a structure bringing together workers and employers be set up.

“In short, the ILO is an icon for social justice and this is why we have given our commitment to this country programme,” he said.

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