Samoa addresses global work challenges

Samoa took part this month in the virtual 109th International Labour Conference (I.L.C.) on the key issues facing the world of work.

Running from 7 June to 19 June, the annual conference brings together governments, workers and employers delegates of the International Labour Organisation (I.L.O.) member states. 

The conference establishes and adopts international labour standards and is a forum for discussion of key social and labour questions. It also adopts the Organisation's budget and elects its governing body.

The Assistant Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Commerce Industry and Labour (M.C.I.L.), Albert Meredith, represented Samoa and joined the 87 member countries of the I.L.O. on the first day of the conference. 

Last Thursday, he delivered Samoa’s statement to a virtual audience of about 220 representatives of Governments, employers and workers who will be engaged in discussions around work issues and most importantly on recovery from the pandemic.

Mr. Meredith congratulated Omar Zniber, the Ambassador and Permanent Resident of the Kingdom of Morocco to the United Nations on his appointment as President of the conference and assured him that he has their full support moving forward.

The Assistant CEO of the labour Ministry added that Samoa supports the position of the I.L.O.’s Director-General, Guy Ryder on how the pandemic has bared the inequalities and vulnerabilities in our societies and the need for multilateral cooperation.

“Samoa also recognises the importance placed on safety and health systems to ensure workers are protected in light of the deficits being highlighted by COVID- 19 including mental health,” said Mr. Meredith.

He also acknowledged and thanked the I.L.O. for its support to Samoa, through the mobilisation of resources and technical partnerships to assist in the country’s response to the global pandemic.

“With the support of the I.L.O. Samoa carried out its Rapid Assessment of the Impacts of COVID 19 on businesses, workers and households,” he said. 

“The significance of this work is it will pave the way for continued programs and action to target our most affected and vulnerable groups.”

Mr. Meredith said that the review of labour legislation also reflects the continued progression of our labour standards to address gaps including the commitment by the Government of Samoa and its constituents to ratify Convention 190 on Violence and Harassment in the world of work:

“The challenges over the last two years have put the magnifying glass on ongoing issues facing our labour and employment. 

“This has coincided with the review and development of Samoa’s 2nd National Employment Policy which will be targeted towards building back decent employment following the devastating setbacks faced through lay-offs, reduction in working hours, disruptions to seasonal employment opportunities and hardships faced by our seafarers abroad.

“The response of the I.L.O. to climate change through the launching of the Climate Action for Jobs initiative also deserves special mention given its importance to our Blue Pacific Big Ocean States. The initiative provides a high- level platform for ensuring that jobs and the well-being of persons are at the centre of a transition to a climate resilient and carbon-neutral economy.” 

He said it was a privilege for Samoa to have been appointed Co-Chair of the International Advisory Board together with Spain with whom we are committed to pushing forward and progressing measurable actions towards a just transition for all. 

This was also the opportunity for Samoa to reinstate its commitment to stronger working relations with social partners to support the recovery of affected workers and prioritising its objectives to address violence and harassment including sexual harassment and gender based violence as it intersects with work. 

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