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Learning more about collective bargaining in the private and public sector | 23 September 2019

Learning more about collective bargaining in the private and public sector

Mr Mandoro facilitating the workshop

A two-day tripartite sensitisation workshop on collective bargaining in the private and public sector was held at the Care House on Thursday and Friday last week. The workshop was facilitated by delegates from the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

This workshop took place as Seychelles has adopted the Decent Work Country Programme (2019-2023) which has identified Strengthened Tripartite Platforms for effective social dialogue as one of the decent work priority outcomes.

The overall objective of the workshop is to contribute towards strengthening of collective bargaining to achieve harmonious labour relations and industrial peace and cooperation in both the private and public sectors in the Seychelles for enhanced productivity, equitable and inclusive labour markets, and economic development.

The outcome also seeks to strengthen social dialogue to facilitate more effective negotiation, consultation, information exchange, collective bargaining, dispute prevention and resolution. The first day was devoted to collective bargaining in the private sector while the second day was on collective bargaining in the public service.

On that occasion, the principal secretary in the department of employment, Jules Baker, spoke about the globalisation and the liberalisation of the Seychelles economy and the macro-economic reform in 2008.

“These changes and developments in our socio-economic landscape have increased the demand for labour including foreign workers. Currently, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, the Seychelles labour force stands at 50,924 in the first quarter of the year. While the government can continue to offer, through its employment legislation, general protection of all workers, the Industrial Relations Act 1993 leaves to employers and workers considerable freedom to negotiate, in order to reach collective bargaining agreements that establish fair working conditions at work. As a method to reach such agreements, collective bargaining is a tool that creates closer and more meaningful relationships between workers and employers based on an understanding of mutual needs.”

He also said that entering into collective bargaining prevents conflicting interests to lead negative outcomes for both parties, for example illegal strikes.

“It is a means to encourage cooperation, encourage workers to be more productive and also to develop their sense of ownership and make workers more responsible. I urge employers to respond to workers’ initiative to enter into collective bargaining. This can be done if there is good faith on both sides.”

Ms Iouina Pillay, representative of the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Inductry (SCCI), spoke about the process of collective bargaining and its advantages.

“For business as represented through the SCCI, a key challenge today is to improve both the culture and processes of social dialogue between workers, employers and government. Social dialogue involves a process of consultation, negotiation and/or exchange of information between employers, workers and/or their respective organisations. Social dialogue is therefore a part of a pluralist outlook on society which SCCI supports. It is also founded on the recognition that the social partners, as represented by unions and business constitute an important building block in ensuring social stability and is based on the recognition that employers and employees, as the principal providers on goods and services and wealth creators, represent two important interest groups in a market economy. Full and genuine social dialogue – based on cooperation and not confrontation – can be one important tool in sustainability.”

Limpho Mandoro, the social dialogue specialist from the ILO Decent work team Pretoria, and Verena Schmidt, the labour relations and collective bargaining specialist from ILO Geneva, were the main facilitators of the workshop.

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