Draft SADC Protocol on Employment and Labour adopted in Maputo

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Draft SADC Protocol on Employment and Labour adopted in Maputo

From Jonathan Mukuka in Maputo, Mozambique

Maputo, May 19, 2013, ZANIS —  The four day Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Ministers and Social Partners for Employment and Labour  meeting that was held in the Mozambique Capital, Maputo  has closed with an adoption of a Draft SADC Protocol on Employment and Labour.

 

And Mozambique Labour Minister Maria Helena Taipo has called on SADC member states to remain committed and focused to the creation of decent jobs in the region.

 

ZANIS Staffer Jonathan Mukuka reports from Maputo that the just ended meeting has recommended that the Draft document on Employment and Labour be submitted to SADC Council of Ministers and
Heads of State and Government for their consideration and possible approval.

Once it has been approved and ratified by Member States, the Draft Protocol document on Employment and Labour will provide a legal framework for regional harmonization of employment and labour
standards in the SADC region.

The protocol provides and recognises the importance of collective bargaining; social dialogue and consultations among employers, trade unions and Government, equal treatment and
social protection for workers and their families in the region, among others.

The meeting was preceded by a preparatory meeting of Senior Officials and Social Partners which took place from 15 to 16 May 2013, in this former Portuguese colony.

Ministers from Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe attended the meeting.

The partners present at the meeting included Southern Africa Trade Unions Coordination Council (SATUCC), SADC Private Sector Forum (SPSF), International Labour Organisation (ILO), and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

 

The meeting witnessed an unprecedented milestone towards the harmonization and standardization in the administration of employment  and labour issues in SADC region.

Zambia was represented at the meeting by Labour Minister Fackson Shamenda, Labour permanent secretary Trevor Kaunda, Zambia’s’ High Commissioner to Mozambique Japhin Mwakalombe, and Zambia Congress of Trade of Unions (ZCTU) president Leonard Hikaumba.

Others were Federation of Free Trade Unions of Zambia (FFTUZ) president Joyce Nonde -Simukoko, Zambia Federation of Employers (ZFE) president Alfred Masupha, Labour Commissioner Cecilia Mulindeti, and several other senior Government officials.

 

And officially closing the meeting last night Mozambique Labour Minister Maria Helena Taipo has called on SADC member states to remain committed and focused to the creation of decent jobs in the region.

Ms. Taipo said there is need for the SADC region to create more decent jobs especially for the youth so as to promote peace and stability.

“We need to place decent employment and social security at the centre of macro-economic and sectorial policies at global, regional and national levels’’.

Earlier,  Mozambique Minister of Public Works and Housing, Cadmiel Filiance Muthemba said that establishing common policies and standards on employment and labour issues, is key towards achieving the SADC regional integration and development agenda, peace and security in the region.

Mr. Muthemba emphasized, during the ministerial meeting ,  that the Decent Work Programme should be viewed to include both a focus on conditions of work, as well as  nurturing good working relations between employers and Governments.

And  Ministers and Social Partners in the region  have agreed on key areas of the SADC Decent Work Programme that will be prioritized by all Member States.

They  agreed, according to the communiqué issued by the SADC secretariat at the end of the
4-day SADC meeting, that  key areas of priorities will include, strengthening the capacity of Member States to collect data and report progress on employment and labour.

The communiqué said the meeting also reviewed and  approved tools that will be used by Member States to monitor, evaluate and report progress on the implementation of employment and labour
policies and programmes.

The meeting has also developed specific tools in areas of provision of social security for workers, their families and other vulnerable people, elimination of child labour and human trafficking in the
region, treatment and support to those at risk and affected by HIV / AIDS and safe guarding occupational safety and health.

In the area of promoting policies and programmes for youth employment, it was noted in the communiqué  that youth unemployment and under employment and labour, remain very high, and posed a significant threat to regional integration, development and peace and security in
the SADC region.

They also underscored the need to ensure that Decent Work permeates the informal economies of Member States.

The meeting also noted that the practice of child labour needed to be eliminated in the region, while social security should be expanded among workers and vulnerable populations.

Member States, according to the  communiqué , will also enhance their efforts to share lessons learnt and best practices in the areas of policies, legislation reforms and programmes relating to employment and labour matters.

The meeting witnessed an unprecedented milestone towards the harmonization and standardization in the administration of employment  and labour issues in SADC region.

Zambia was represented at the meeting by Labour Minister Fackson Shamenda, Labour permanent secretary Trevor Kaunda, Zambia’s’ High Commissioner to Mozambique Japhin Mwakalombe, and Zambia Congress of Trade of Unions (ZCTU) president Leonard Hikaumba.

Others were Federation of Free Trade Unions of Zambia (FFTUZ) president Joyce Nonde -Simukoko, Zambia Federation of Employers (ZFE) president Alfred Masupha, Labour Commissioner Cecilia Mulindeti, and several other senior Government officials.

The SADC Region, with a total population of about 200 million and combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of about US 190 billion dollars and an estimated growth rate of around 6 percent per annum, is one of the most promising developing regions in the world in terms of economic potential.

However, the fact that 40 percent of the region’s population still live in conditions of abject poverty translates to a need for an estimated sustained growth rate of around 6 percent per annum.

In 1999 the total combined growth rate for SADC stood at 1.5 percent.

The successful implementation of SADC objectives as applied through appropriate employment and labour policies and strategies will contribute to the attainment of the sustained growth required to
alleviate and subsequently eradicate the unacceptably high levels of poverty in many SADC countries.

Among the issues on the Agenda for the just-ended high level meeting, were the Implementation of the 2012 Decisions of the SADC Committee of Ministers and Social Partners, preparations for the 2014 comprehensive Report on the implementation of the Ouagadougou 2004 Declaration and Plan of Action and consideration of the Draft SADC Decent Work Programme.

Other issues considered were the Road map to the Development of Youth Empowerment Promotion Strategy, report on the Piloting of Assessment Tools in Member States, SADC Labour market Information Systems (LMIS) and Resource mobilization and Capacity Building: Draft Action Plan.

The Draft SADC Code on Tuberculosis in the Mining Sector was also tackled, Labour Migration in the SADC, Facilitation of Compliance of ILO Core Conventions and Ratification of the ILO Priority Conventions, were the issues among others that were considered.

The 2014 meeting of SADC Ministers and Social Partners responsible for employment and labour will be held in Lilongwe, Malawi.

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