Shamenda says decent work agenda is key to achieving MDGs

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Government has reaffirmed its commitment to providing a decent work agenda which is key to achieving Millennium Development Goals (MDGS).

Minister of Labour and Social Security Fackson Shamenda said decent work was central in reducing poverty and achieving equitable, inclusive and sustainable development.

Mr. Shamenda was speaking when he launched the 2012 decent work country profile (DWCP) in Lusaka today.

He said the success of the decent work programme depended on the collective responsibility of stakeholders to participate in their respective mandates.

He has therefore called on the employers, workers, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), civil society and cooperating partners to work together on labour issues.

And Mr. Shamenda revealed that government was reviewing the national employment and labour market policy to eliminate child labour in order to promote fairness and social justice for every citizen.

He added that government placed priority on generating statistics to benefit the labour sector and this was demonstrated through the preliminary results of the labour force survey of 2012 which will be released soon.

The Labour Minister explained that the decent work country profile results would create a foundation for reforming policies and legal frameworks so as to protect the welfare of workers and employers.
Mr. Shamenda emphasised that the decent work agenda could not be achieved without taking into consideration the rights of both the employees and employers.

And International Labour Organisation (ILO) Country Director Martin Clemenson has called on enterprises to be more competitive and grow their potential to create decent employment for the majority of citizens.

Mr. Clemenson said was encouraged that Zambia has made significant economic strides in recent years and that high copper prices continued to boost the economy.

He however expressed concern that the number of jobs that were created did not match the population adding that employment was critical in ensuring social stability of any nation.

Mr. Clemenson added that the decent work outlook provided an opportunity for people to earn fair incomes and cited labour policies such as the minimum wage and employment protection as important factors in safeguarding the welfare of workers.

Speaking earlier at the same function, Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) President Leonard Hikaumba said although the gender gap was narrowing in the labour industry, a lot more needed to be done to ensure that women had the same rights to education and employment as their male counterparts.

Mr. Hikaumba said there was also need to integration people with disabilities into the workforce to ensure that workers’ rights were adhered to.

The decent work agenda was a globally recognised framework for reducing poverty and balancing development with four key objectives of Job creation, workers’ rights, social protection and social dialogue.

Zambia’s decent work country profile (DCWP) is a statistical analysis of Zambia’s progress towards realizing decent work and has been prepared by national consultants under the coordination of the Zambia DCWP advisory committee, with active participation from the ministry of Labour and Social Security, the Central Statistical Office (CSO) and with technical assistance from the ILO.