A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the government of Samoa and village mayors in Upolu yesterday.
Held at the Samoa Tourism Authority Fale, the M.O.U. is designed to represent the government’s and the Samoan seasonal workers best interests in protecting the employment programme for Samoans to work overseas on a temporary basis.
“The signing ceremony this morning indicates the Memorandum of Understanding between the villages who have been part of this programme since ten years ago and the government of Samoa,” the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Agafili Shem Leo.
“The sole purpose of this M.O.U, (firstly) is to strengthen the partnerships between the villages and the government of Samoa.
“Secondly, is to enhance the sharing of information and training of those who have been selected under the seasonal workers programme to ensure that they’re aware of the requirement of this programme.”
Agafili added that the M.O.U. also ensures villages play a prominent role in terms of disciplining workers.
“As you are aware, discipline has been a real challenge and issue for the R.S.E. for New Zealand and seasonal workers programme for Australia.
“Our workers undoubtedly are very strong; we have received very positive feedback and comments from the employers.
“But the challenge has been their discipline and alcohol is the number one factor, and that causes a lot of trouble for our R.S.E. workers in New Zealand and Australia.
“For this M.O.U., the government and the villages are (working) in collaboration to ensure that the workers are well prepared, well briefed, well orientated before they depart for seasonal employment in New Zealand and Australia.”
Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour, Pulotu Lyndon Chu Ling, believes the signing is an important milestone.
“Today’s signing ceremony is a very important occasion because it conveys a very strong message to the people of Samoa,” he said.
“The government has already paved the way through the previous years in negotiating seasonal workers opportunities especially in New Zealand and Australia.
“The signing of the M.O.U. signifies the importance of that stepping stone, and if there is anything else left we are asking the leaders in the villages to please make an effort to sign this M.O.U.”
For Savai’i, the signing ceremonies will be at the Apitaga o Pisaga next week Tuesday morning at 10:00am.
The New Zealand R.S.E scheme has the highest number of Samoan workers with 1,600 working in that country during this year’s picking season. Aside from the signing of the M.O.U., the official handover of the R.S.E. Programme to the Ministry of Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour will be held on Thursday this week.