Government on the move to create employment
Lautafi Fio Purcell
Minister of Commerce, Industry and Labour
Statement at 106th International Labour
Conference in Geneva
It is an honour to take the floor on behalf of the Independent State of Samoa and to address this Council.
I would like to commend the Director General for the timely and appropriate report on the “Green Initiative”, Samoa endorses the report in its entirety. The government of Samoa is fully supportive of the ILO strategic objectives for creating and promoting decent work for all.
I want to acknowledge the ongoing support of the ILO for Samoa, through resources and technical assistance, which most recently, enabled the successful completion of Samoa’s Decent Work Country Programme 2017 – 2020. Samoa hosted the Assistant Director General and Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, Ms Tomoko Nishimoto for the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Samoa and the ILO on the 30th May 2017, to ensure the effective implementation of the decent work country programme. Samoa is the first pacific country to sign such a MoU.
The WCP will be the tool for building a future of decent work, promoting fair working terms and conditions for Workers, ensuring productivity for Employers. Achievement of the DWCP will rely on the commitment of social partners and the ongoing support of the ILO. Mr Chairman, Samoa has commenced preparations to ratify Convention 144 Tripartite Consultation and Convention 81 Labour Inspectors.
Samoa Decent Work priorities for 2017-2018 include:
1. Implementation of the Samoa National Employment Policy 2016-2020
2. Samoa National Action Plan on Youth Employment 2015, and the Youth Employment Programme
3. Samoa Labour Migration Policy 2015, focusing on Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme with New Zealand and the Seasonal Workers Programme with Australia to increase employment opportunities and capacity building for seasonal workers, and ensuring protection of rights of workers during employment abroad, and sustainability of workers upon their return. Samoa hopes to expand both scheme to include trade, sports and professionals.
4. The Rapid Assessment Survey on Child Labour in Samoa was also launched in March this year with the aim to tackle child labour. A child vending task force has also been set up to instigate key programmes to address child vending in Samoa.
5. Establishment of the National OSH Task Force
Early this year the government of Samoa endorsed the National OSH Task Force with a responsibility in the effective implementation of the National OSH Framework, and workplace standards. We are aware of the importance in prioritising the safety and wellbeing of workers, as this will contribute to boost productivity for businesses and reduce the burden of workplace injuries.
6. Climate Change
Mr Chairman, ladies and gentlemen climate change is without a doubt, the biggest challenge and threat to Samoa and all Small Pacific Island countries, and will require major readjustments to our future plans in all aspects. Samoa has taken a proactive stance in the fight against the effects of climate change; by developing Core/Competency Standards for Green Jobs.
Samoa’s Decent Work Country Program is committed to “Ensuring urgent and radical response to climate change resilience and promoting of safety and health rehabilitation in the work-place from natural disaster”.
These are small steps in what will be a long arduous journey. As Small Island Developing States (SIDS) spread across the Pacific Ocean we are most vulnerable to natural disasters and rising sea levels.
Pacific Islands States need assistance of the global community, in addressing climate change to prevent, mitigate and adapt to it. “To ensure a just transition of the world of work to environmental sustainability” as the Director Generals report states. With proper planning and strategic policy foresight, saving the planet can go hand in hand with job creations for our people.
These priorities are part of Samoa’s roadmap to not only addressing current concerns with regards to the Future of Work, but a means to generate employment with particular focus on vulnerable groups. It provides a framework to improve the quality of life for all Samoans through decent and productive employment. These priorities are aligned to the National Strategy for the Development of Samoa, and the 2030 Agenda.
Samoa’s successes so far has come through a strong political will and successful Tripartism relationship with social partners. With the onslaught of Climate Change Tripartism will become more critical as the tool to ensure success in our efforts to providing decent work for all. Our future success will require continued investment by ILO in training, up-skilling of our three Partners as we face “Work in a Changing Climate”. I wish you all a successful conference.