Oliphant pays tribute to outgoing ILO director general
PRETORIA: Labour minister, Mildred Oliphant has paid tribute to the outgoing director-general of the International Labour Organisation Juan Somavia, saying under his tutelage, the voice of labour was audible on the international stage.
Speaking at the International Labour Conference in Geneva, Oliphant called Somavia a true friend of Africa who was instrumental in introducing and championing some of the defining concepts being adopted the world over to improve the lives of citizens.
"Many of these areas have a strong resonance with the social and development priorities of the continent and its people - the Decent Work Agenda and the Social Protection floor are just two that come to mind," she said.
South Africa had taken a cue from some of these development priorities and has introduced the concept of Decent Work to underpin its employment creation drive.
"Decent work is work done under conditions of freedom, equity, where people have a right to join their unions and be free to speak their minds. Our struggles have been about decent life for all our people," she said.
The ILO has had a significant influence on the policies adopted by South Africa.
"Central to our approach is recognition of the enormous responsibility on all social partners to contribute in different ways. In particular, to contribute through effective social dialogue to the creation of more and better jobs, referring to the New Growth Path makes decent work central to efforts to stimulate the rate of economic growth and the employment intensity of that growth."
Oliphant also told the Assembly that South Africa had made progress towards ratification of Convention 81 on Labour Inspection, Convention 129 on Labour inspection on farms and Convention 189 on Domestic Workers.
Work is also progressing on a review of Code of Good Practice and Technical Assistance guidelines on HIV and AIDS in the light of ILO Recommendation number 200 concerning HIV and AIDS and the World of Work.
"With technical assistance of the ILO, we have recently completed an analysis of the prospects of ratification of ILO Convention 102: Social Security (Minimum Standards) which seeks to strengthen social security as a response to the global economic crisis and enhancing the Decent Work Agenda," she said.
The minister welcomed the DG-elect Guy Ryder who takes over the reins from October this year and also congratulated South Sudan for being the latest nation to join the ILO.
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