The 92nd International labour Conference took place from 1-17 June 2004 The Labour Minister led a South African tripartite delegation to this meeting.
2. Report: The first sitting of this session was addressed by Mr. Chung, Chairperson of the Governing body who tabled his report on the work of the Governing Body during his term of Office for the period June 2003 to June 2004. He alluded to the activities undertaken in the different areas of the lLO's operations. In the field of International Labour Standards, he indicated that the International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour [IPEC] is the largest technical cooperation programme and it continues to make systematic efforts in mainstreaming its work at country and global level.
3. He indicated that close attention has been paid to the In Focus Programme on Promoting the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. This was done with the aim of raising the coherence, visibility and impact of the Organisation's actions. He noted that this being the fifth annual review of the programmes follow-up and the Global Report focusing on Organising for Social Justice, this is a return to the first of the four categories for annual review, that is. Freedom of Association and the Right to Collective Bargaining.
4. Other areas covered under this period related to the consolidated maritime labour convention as well as the conclusion in February of the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalisation. Political issues that the organisation continued to debate related to the Special Technical Assistance to Colombia as well as the enhanced Programme of Technical Cooperation for the Occupied Arab territories.
5. The Director-General of the ILO also introduced his report. Stressing his appreciation for the road travelled thus far (the first five years), and the pride with which he views the ILO. He indicated that with this conference, he is beginning his second mandate and is convinced that tripartism has a global role to play in the advent of Globalisation.
6. He pointed out that in the last five years, three fundamental and interlinked concepts were developed. These related to the Decent Work Agenda as a development tool, employment as the main route out of poverty as well as achieving a fair globalisation as a source of global stability. Synthesizing these points, the emerging meaning related to a statement that says, "Givemeafairchanceata decentjob". The response to this is the various issues that are being discussed in the respective committees, that is, skills development, migration and working conditions in the fishing sector.
7. He also spoke about the Global report expressing similar sentiments as the Governing Body Chairperson whilst also commenting on the political issues as well as the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalisation.
8. African Group Committee spokespersons The Group met for its first sitting on the 319t June at 17h35 to elect the spokespersons of the various committees. After deliberating on these committees, the following were elected: Human resources Development and Training - South Africa Migration - Nigeria
Work in the Fishing Sector - Namibia
Resolutions - Algeria
9. The Group met daily as scheduled to be updated on progress and to discuss common positions for the respective committees.
10. Conference Credentials Article 3 of the Constitution of the ILO governs the procedure for the appointment of delegates to the ILC. In accordance with paragraphs 8 and 9 of this article, governments communicate to the office delegates names. At the opening of the Conference, the credentials submitted as per the specifications/provisions above reflected the following picture:
•157 member states have communicated the names of their delegations of which 85 countries have deposited their credentials before the 17 May deadline; • The present number of delegations registered is 311 Government delegates and 966 Government advisors, 152 Employer delegates and 478 advisors as well as 152 Worker delegates and 592 advisors.
• A total of 2 651 delegates and advisors have been accredited.
11. The conference is also attended by a tripartite delegation from Palestine (invited as a liberation movement), representatives of the United Nations, special agencies and non-governmental international organisations.
SPECIAL MINISTERIAL SESSION OF THE AFRICAN ONION LABOUR AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS COMMISSION9 JUNE 2004
12. This meeting met with a view amongst other considerations to adopt the Draft Strategic Framework on Migration for Africa. Four items were considered as per the proposed agenda items.
• Consideration of the report of the 2nd Ministerial Session of the AU held in Benin.
• Consideration of the comments received from member states with regard to the Draft Strategic Framework on Migration for Africa.
• Adoption of the Framework.
• Venue for the next session of the AU
• Any other business:
• Briefing by Minister of the Sudan
• Update on the preparations for the Extra Ordinary Summit on Employment and Poverty Alleviation in Africa.
13. Item 1: This related to the report of the 2nd AU Ministerial Session held in Benin. The office submitted the report for scrutiny and the delegates confirmed its contents as reflective of the developments during this meeting.
14. Item II: The meeting in Benin deferred this matter for further consultation by member states and a possible adoption during this session's sitting. Members indicated that the time given for proper consultation was not sufficient and more time was needed as the framework involves other government departments and regional economic communities. Furthermore, the current discussion at the ILO might have a significant bearing on the framework.
15. The meeting decided to extend the consultation period until November 30th for submission to the AU and further discussion during the next session of the AU Labour and Social Affairs Commission in 2005.
16. Item III: Due to the above conclusion, this item was withdrawn.
17. Item IV: The office had requested that member states consider hosting the meeting next year and indicate such intentions to this meeting. After interventions from a number of Ministers, it was clear that South Africa was the preferred choice and Minister Mdladlana promised to consider the request.
18. Item V (a) The Minister from Sudan updated the meeting on the political developments in his country. He indicated that there were positive moves towards peace in Sudan and agreements have been signed to this effect. He extended the Sudanese appreciation of the support they have received from the continent and indicated their will to ensure that peace prevails in the Sudan.
19. Item V (b) The AU Commissioner for Social Affairs updated the house on the preparations for the upcoming meeting on employment and poverty alleviation. She indicated that a Working Party comprising her office, Benin as current chair of the labour and social affairs commission, Burkina Faso as host country, Mozambique as current chair of the AU and South Africa as a member of the troika is working as the preparatory committee. They have held meetings with other interested parties including the ILO as per the Heads of States directive.
20. She stressed that the plan is for the summit to be interactive in nature and that social partners are also preparing through sectoral meetings. Information on the Declaration and Plan of Action is available on the AU website
Conference Committees: 21. Conference Committees resumed their work on Tuesday June 1st and worked until the adoption of reports in terms of the timetable.
22. This Committee sits every two years on the year where the ILC is not considering the budget. The Committee seeks to address critical issues not addressed by the Conference's Technical Committees.
23. The Chairperson explained that this Committee has sixteen submitted resolutions for consideration. She further indicated that in line with the provisions of Article 17 of the standing orders, these were to be submitted 15 days prior to the sitting and by a delegate accredited to the conference. In this regard, only fifteen of these were admissible, as the sponsor of one resolution was not accredited to conference.
24. Sponsors of resolutions made presentations as to the importance of these being considered and adopted by the committee. The objectives of this exercise is to afford delegates an opportunity to understand the conceptualization of these resolutions and choose\prioritise the top five to be discussed. Normally, between one and three resolutions are finalized during conferences. Only thirteen of the fifteen resolutions were presented, as the sponsors of the other two were not present in the meeting
COMPOSITE RESOLUTIONS 25. The committee received the composite resolutions as submitted and in accordance with article 17 voted for the top five prioritised for discussion. The total number of resolutions for consideration numbered eight after the merger of similarly structured resolutions.
26. The African Group prioritised the following resolutions:
1. Palestine and Occupied Arab Territories: Informed by the resolution adopted at the AU Labour and Social Affairs Commission's meeting in Benin.
2. On Poverty; Informed by the conclusions of the 10th ILO Africa regional meeting held in Addis, Ababa, December 2003.
3. On Global peace and security: Informed by the need for world peace and stability.
4. On Gender and Equity; Informed by the need to balance the imbalances in the Labour Market and uplift the status of women.
5. Good governance: Informed by the need for transparency and good governance in trade.
27. TOP FIVE PRIORITY The five prioritised resolutions in order of importance were as follows:
• Resolution concerning the promotion of gender equality, pay equity and maternity protection;
• Resolution con.cer-n.ing the lLO's efforts to combat poverty;
• Resolution concerning the strengthening of the role of the ILO in supporting workers and employers in Palestine and other Occupied Arab territories as a result of continued Israeli occupation and aggressive practices;
• Resolution concerning democratic values, good governance and transparency in a global economy and their impact on the world of work, competitiveness and sustainable development;
• Resolution concerning older workers and employment and social protection
28. The Committee considered 116 amendments as submitted by the delegates. After intense and vigorous debates, the Committee managed to conclude only one resolution. This was adopted by the committee and presented to the Conference plenary on 15 June where it was unanimously adopted.
Migrant Workers Committee
29. Background: International migration continues to be a challenge as it relates to the protection of migrant workers. The discussions were based on three themes:
• International labour migration in the era of Globalization.
• Policies and structures for more orderly migration for employment.
• Improving migrant workers' protection.
30. The Migrant Workers Committee had its first sitting on Tuesday I June. After the adoption of its plan of work,' it began the general discussion on migrant workers. These related to the inputs by various delegations on their experiences with regard to migration and discussions were concluded on Friday the 4th of June.
31. After the first week, the observation was that there had been substantial consensus between governments, employers and workers. All agreed that migration for employment is a growing global phenomenon. There was also agreement that there should be an elimination of abuses of migrant workers ,comprehensive national policies that address migrant workers conditions and rights as well as improved rights-based management of migration and improved information.
32. The role of the ILO had also received attention highlighting its contribution in promoting existing Conventions, increased technical support and ensuring coordination of its activities with other international for a and agencies.
33. After completing three days of general discussions, the Committee constituted a Drafting Committee, which sat and produced a set of Draft Conclusions. The drafting process involved representatives from the worker, employer and government delegations. There was little agreement between the three delegations in the drafting process until the workers and employers came up with a majority text. The government group suggested amendments, some of which were taken into account. Thereafter, the Draft Conclusions were finalized and distributed for further discussion by the three delegations.
34. The Draft Conclusions were divided into 8 sections. These are:
1. Issues and Challenges - this section provided an overview of some of the key developments in migration and the challenges it poses to member states.
2. Policy approaches - the importance of strong migration policies and their necessary features were highlighted. This section also introduced a proposed ILO Plan of Action.
3. A non-binding multilateral framework for migrant workers in a global economy - the development of a multilateral framework for member states was proposed along with its main features. The convening of a tripartite meeting of experts as well as an ILO Forum for Rights-based International Migration for Employment were proposed.
4. International labour standards and other relevant instruments - the further use of existing ILO standards and conventions relevant to migration were dealt with here.
5. Capacity building and technical assistance - the focus for future ILO assistance to member states was dealt with in this section.
6. Development of a global knowledge base - this section dealt with the need for research and information sharing by member states in the area of labour migration.
7. Social dialogue - the importance of ongoing social dialogue was noted.
8. Follow-up - The establishment of a permanent committee on migration of the ILO Governing Body was proposed to take the work forward.
35. The Africa Group members of the Committee on Migrant Workers considered the draft conclusions and there was general support for the Conclusions. Seven Amendments were proposed by the Africa Group and, together with amendments submitted by workers, employers and other governments; were discussed.
36. The full committee then discussed the Draft Conclusions. After considering 184 amendments, agreement was reached on the wording of the final conclusions. The Conference plenary considered the report and adopted it on 16 June 2004.
Committee on Work in the Fishing Sector
37. Background: The fishing sector required attention as the provisions of existing standards do not apply to fishermen and do not take into account the nature of fishing operations, employment relations, and other issues of social protection.
38. This was the first discussion on this item and the proposed standard is likely to cover the following issues:
• Minimum age and protection of young fishermen,
• Medical examinations,
• Articles of agreement/contracts of employment,
• Competency certificate and vocational training,
• Hours of rest /work,
• Enforcement issues, and
• New issues such as safety and health, social security, international commercial fishing, small scale and artisan fishermen
39. The objectives of the discussion were clearly identified by the chair as:
1. The protection of as large as possible a portion of workers in the fishing sector;
2. The instrument should achieve wide ratification;
3. Should compliment the work done by other agencies such as the IMO;
4. Implementation should lead to appropriate changes for vessels.
40. Various delegations as well as the employer group made statements on the need for a comprehensive amendment. The Workers group proposed a framework convention.
41. The observation of the emerging positions from interventions of delegates was as follows:
1. Workers questioned the following matters for which the committee requested the assistance of a legal expert from the ILO:
a. How should large vessels be addressed? Workers required clarity on whether the proposed standard should make provision for smaller vessels (smaller than 15 metres) and whether larger vessels (from 24 metres) should be covered by the proposed maritime convention. In this regard they further questioned the possibility of the inclusion of a separate section in the proposed standard for bigger vessels that should be ready at the second discussion on this matter next year.
b. They questioned the linkages and de linkages in different conventions such as the social security convention (C102) that expressly excludes fishers from social security.
c. The issue of safety and health where fishers are also excluded from the convention.
d. The linkages that exist between the maritime conventions and the proposed fishing standard.
42. The Workers Group was concerned that the proposed convention will erode the protection that the current applicable standards provide because of the vagueness of the proposed standard. Effectively they wanted specific provisions for different size vessels included in the proposed standard.
43. Governments raised the issue of Port State control as well as the need for measures to deal with the issue of flags of convenience. The representative from Greece raised the issue that the reality must be reflected with respect to accommodation provisions in the standard in regard to current vessel construction.
44. Countries, especially those in the Americas as well as in the IMEC group noted their concerns with the proposed applicability of the standard to all vessels. They were of the view that the standard should be applicable only to larger vessels.
45. The African Group pushed for the following:
• An integrated approach towards standard setting activities.
• The protection provided by the current standards to workers should not be diluted
• To obviate ambiguity as well as to provide conceptual clarity with respect to the convention as well as in line with the intention that there is greater synergy with the work of other UN agencies, the convention should reflect the general style and language that will improve the subsequent usefulness of the current recommendation.
46 With this approach in mind. South Africa motivated for a number of amendments to the proposed text of the standard. Some of the issues raised included:
• Changes related to language such as for example fisher to crewmember.
• The inclusion and exclusion of certain categories of workers on the vessels. This would inter alia include shore-based workers.
• The protection of the rights of trainees and cadets on vessels.
• The recognition of the changing health care system by proposing that the definition of the term medical practitioner be expanded so that it takes cognisance of this reality.
47. A slew of amendments were tabled on a number of matters in the proposed standard, most of which attempted to provide greater clarity to the standard and a number of which were substantive in nature. Issues raised that were of a substantive nature were the following:
1. Scope of application of the standard was agreed by the committee to apply to all fishers as well as all vessels irrespective of size.
2. The continued protection of fishers with respect to fundamental rights (such as collective bargaining, freedom of association, child labour, forced labour) and occupational health and safety in the event that a member state's competent authority exercises its prerogative to exempt certain classes of vessels. This was incorporated in the preamble of the standard.
3. The need for fisher's identity documents was discussed at great length. No consensus was reached and member states argued that discussions in other areas related to seafarers and seafarers identity are continuing and would provide a way forward for the matter.
4. The need for a formal work agreement that is much broader than an employment contract (the relationship on fishing vessels are significantly different to that in other forms of employment since fishes are mostly paid on a portion of the catch which could imply that they are independent contractors or self employed) was also agreed. The access to such work agreement on the vessel by concerned parties was adopted in the committee.
5. Access to medical care given the transitory nature of fishers was agreed upon as a standard for all vessels.
6. Hours of rest and of work were stated in broad terms within the standard because of the unique requirements of the sector. The committee within the context of national legislation agreed this upon.
7. The matter of adequate manning of the vessel was agreed upon by the committee that compels the vessel owner to ensure that the vessel is adequately manned for the safe functioning and navigation of the vessel.
48. Further substantive issues discussed included the following:
a. Port state control - Where vessels are in the territorial waters of a member state, that state
should apply the protection of the proposed standard to the vessel (or the protection provided by the laws and regulation of the port state) where the protection on the vessel is not equal to or more favourable than what the standard provides.
b. Flags of convenience - The proposed standard should provide that vessels registered in another country (countries that do not provide adequate protection for fishers) should enjoy the same protection provided within the standard of a member state.
c. Accommodation - A recommendation was made in the committee that a technical committee be established in order to deal with technical issues such as size of accommodation, bunk beds, ventilation and other matters of a technical nature. Workers and employers agreed to this.
Achievements in terms of the stated objectives for SA
49. With respect to the objectives stated at the onset of the conference, the following objectives were realized.
1. The continued protection of workers in terms of the fundamental conventions when the competent authority exempts vessels. A clause to this effect was included in the preamble of the convention.
2. With respect to the need for medical certificates and the possibility of excluding fishers from employment. This has been achieved through an inclusion of an amendment to the effect that this should be dealt with in terms of national laws and practices.
50. The report of the Committee on the Fishing Sector was adopted in the Committee on the 14 June 2004 and a final draft of the report tabled for approval and adoption in the plenary sitting of the Conference on Wednesday 16 June 2004 where it was adopted.
51. The Committee could not finish the discussions on all the work and a number of issues were not addressed at this sitting. These issues, deferred for discussion at the next conference in June 2005 are:
• Technical matters that relate to accommodation and rations for fishers on vessels together with Annexure 2.
• A preamble sufficient to address the concerns of the African delegation. This matter has been raised in the report from point 267 to 273. A clarification was provided by the Secretariat that further legal opinion was sought from the legal adviser on how such a preamble should be structured.
• Additional requirements for vessels.
• Social Security.
• Identity documents. This was deferred pending the outcome of the discussions on the onsolidated maritime convention as well as a proper assessment of the rate of ratification of the convention on identity documents for seafarers. (Convention 185)
52. A suggestion was also made by the committee to the effect that the secretariat look at the possibility of establishing a technical working group to address the concerns of the committee with the accommodation and rations provisions in the convention. The Committee proposed that the technical committee meets before next year's conference. South Africa was nominated to send an expert to this meeting, which will be held in December 2004.
Conclusion 53. With respect to ratification of the proposed standard, South Africa complies with all the proposed provisions in the standard as well as the proposed amendments thereto. The Conference plenary adopted the report on 16 June 2004.
Application of Standards Committee 54. Background: This Committee considered information and reports supplied by the Governments in pursuance of articles 19, 22, and 35 of the ILO Constitution on measures taken to give effect to Conventions and Recommendations.
55. The reports submitted under Article 19, 22, and 35 of the ILO Constitution dealt with the following:
• Report of Experts on the Application of Standards and Recommendations (Report III (Part IA) of the 92"d Session of the ILC.
• General Survey Reports dealing with Employment Policy Convention, 1964 (No. 122), the Employment Policy (Supplementary Provisions) Recommendation, 1984, (NO. 169), the Human Resources Development Convention, 1975, (No. 142), and the Job Creation in Small and Medium Enterprises Recommendation, 1998 (No. 189). (Report III (Part 1B) of the 92nd Session of the ILC.
56. Discussions commenced on June 2"d on the report of the Committee (Report III, part IA). This related to improvements in the structure of the report. Some considered it user friendly, some not. Delegates also expressed their concerns about the working methods of the Committee.
57 The focus of the concerns was mainly two fold:
• The lack of objective criteria in choosing the list of cases.
• Insufficient time taken by the officials in reaching their conclusions in respect of the list of cases.
58. The first point related to the reflected geographical imbalance of countries chosen to appear before the Committee. The list of cases seemed to incorporate a greater number of developing countries.
59. The second point related to lack of transparency and possible biasness in the Committee as the conclusions immediately follow the Government's presentations. It appeared that the officials do not apply their minds to the matter and therefore their conclusions are pre-determined.
60. South Africa's contribution to the debate focused on the following:
• That a review of the working methods was necessary to allow for clarity and transparency in choosing the list of cases.
• Operations of our inspectorate, i.r.o, tools of trade, powers of entry etc, securing undertakings, compliance orders issued and made orders of court and subsequently penalties.
• Noted observations in Report III (part IA) and confirmed having submitted information to the ILO.
• The endorsement by the constituencies at the GDS of the ILO Recommendations on the Promotion of Co-operatives.
• There are presently discussions regarding the maternity protection instruments.
61. The Committee also discussed the general survey on promoting employment. Generally, it was agreed that it was necessary to re-visit the Conventions and Recommendations that deal with the promotion of employment through small, medium and micro enterprises.
62. NB: On June 4, the Report of the Joint ILO/UNESCO Committee of Experts on the Application of the Recommendations concerning Teaching Personnel was discussed. This is done once every three years. The focus of the discussions was on the following:
• Effective use of information and communications technologies (ICT) in teaching for relevancy and global competencies.
• Problems in recruiting and maintaining teachers can be addressed by improving the working conditions, salaries and image in the teaching profession.
63. South Africa had a special note in the report on page 9 as an example of good practice in social dialogue. This was in respect of the education sector bargaining council within a coordinated public sector bargaining council structure that functions well for information sharing, consultation and negotiations on issues concerning the teaching profession.
64. A Special sitting to discuss the effect given by the Government of Myanmar to the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry set up to examine the observance of Forced Labour Convention, 1930, (No. 29) sat for deliberations on Saturday 5th June. This is pursuant to the Resolution concerning the measures recommended by the Governing Body under Article 33 of the ILO Constitution on the subject of Myanmar, adopted by the Conference in June 2000.
65. Zimbabwe again appeared in the list of the cases to appear before the Committee in relation to the violation of Convention 98 (Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention) -They circulated an Aide Memoire seeking our support, and Columbia appeared in relation to the violation of Convention 87 (Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention).
66. The case of Zimbabwe was heard and the South African Government delegation made an intervention to the following effect:
• there was legislative reform in Zimbabwe which was noted by the Committee of Experts and which shows the Government of Zimbabwe's commitment to bringing its legislation in line with Convention 98;
• the Government of Zimbabwe was also willing to repeal certain provisions of the Labour Act;
• the South African Government did not see Zimbabwe's listing as necessary and was opposed to a direct contacts mission being sent to Zimbabwe;
• social dialogue among the social partners and the Government of Zimbabwe was to be encouraged.
67. There were many other interventions by the workers, Government and employers. There was an obvious divide of opinions between the speakers of Africa, Cuba and Brazil on one hand and the speakers of Ireland (on behalf of the EU), Norway, Finland and Canada on the other hand. The former speakers recognized the progress made by Zimbabwe, saw it's listing as being unjustified and therefore called into question the working methods of the Committee and the criteria used in selecting the individual cases.
68. The latter speakers reluctantly acknowledged the progress made by Zimbabwe as noted by the Committee of Experts but focused on the continuing violation of human rights in Zimbabwe. They were also defensive about the working methods of the Committee.
69. The Government of Zimbabwe urged the Committee to make a clear distinction between legal and political issues and to remain focused on the technical issues before it.
71. The Report of the Committee was adopted by the Committee in the afternoon of 15 June 2004 and tabled at Plenary on 17 June where it was adopted.
72.Background;Thediscussioncontinuedwithaviewto updatetheoutdatedinstrumenton Human Resources Training and Development - Revision of the Human Resources Development Recommendation, 1975 (No. 150). The second discussion was held with a view to completely review the existing instrument culminating in the adoption of a new Recommendation.
73.Intra-African discussions: South Africa was appointed as the Spokesperson for the African Group on HRD and presented its four pre-Conference proposals that were agreed in broad principle. They are:
a. That the impact of HRD policies should be measured against goals agreed by the United Nations and its Agencies (e.g. MDGs).
b. That there needs to be a proposed response by the ILC in the HRD Resolution to the problem of the aggressive recruitment of skilled workers by developed nations, and the negative consequences on developing countries.
c. That a much more overt set of references should be made to 'entrepreneurship', given the paucity of formal sector jobs in many countries in Africa; and
d. That the various terms dealing with HRD, education, training and lifelong learning need to be streamlined in the text.
74. These general propositions were referred to a dedicated Africa Group meeting on HRD. At the first meeting, a four person drafting team was appointed, consisting of representatives from South Africa (convener), Senegal, Ivory Coast and Kenya.
75. The drafting team formulated 35 amendments on the four general propositions raised by South Africa. Most of the amendments concerned the inclusion of 'entrepreneurship' alongside HRD in the text.
76. In addition, the African Group agreed to a recommendation that would modify the 'right for training' given their concern that the majority of African governments are not in a position to provide training as a right to all citizens. The proposed amendment read "(Members should) recognize that education is a right for all, and, with the social partners to extend this right to lifelong learning."
77. In addition amendments to include 'poverty eradication' in various places were added. The drafting committee submitted these amendments to the Committee.
78. In relation to the problem of the brain drain, an amendment was formulated which built on the recent agreement at the World Health Assembly dealing with the recruitment of health professionals by developed countries.
79. Both the employers and workers groups expressed a desire not to re-open issues raised, discussed, and settled in last year's debates. These constituencies also indicated that there needed to be discussions on the structure of the Recommendation as the text is repetitive as well as illogically arranged in certain places. They signalled that bilateral discussions had begun on these issues.
80. Some governments indicated that they would like to be part of these discussions the outcome of which was a special discussion held on Friday 4th June between workers, employers and two government representatives (Africa and Europe).
81. Further discussions on the structure of the Recommendation took place on Saturday 5th June between these same groups, but additional items were added: the right to training, entrepreneurship, and the impact of training on the achievement of broader human development goals.
Therighttotraining 82. From the workers group the question of the right to training was highlighted as a key priority, as too was the question of paid time off for training.
83. From the employers the question of the 'right to training' was raised as a matter requiring further discussion. They also stressed the need to clarify the roles and functions of various constituencies and this seems to mean ensuring that the principle responsibility remains with government for education and pre-employment training.
84. The precise amendment submitted by the African Group was not supported at the point at which it was first recommended to be located in the Recommendation, however there was an in principle agreement on the point and a suggestion that it be included under the section dealing with research. An amendment to this effect was submitted and adopted.
85. The precise amendment submitted by the African Group was not supported at the point at which it was first recommended to be located, however there was an in principle agreement on the point and a suggestion that it be included under the section dealing with International and Technical Cooperation. An amendment to this effect was submitted and adopted.
86. The proposed addition of the word 'entrepreneurship' to the title - raised by the African Group was discussed. This raised strong responses from the workers, although the employers offered support. It later transpired that this matter had been hotly debated at last year's session and both groups were concerned not to re-open the same discussion. The outcome of the discussion was that the African Group withdrew the range of amendments throughout the text but agreed to discuss the matter further with the employers and workers. The discussion held on Friday 4th at which the employers and workers invited the African Group to prepare a more limited amendment later in the text, and they would consider recommending support to their constituencies. This was discussed at the special meeting scheduled for Saturday 5th Drafts have been submitted by the African Group and were later adopted.
87. The discussion on terminology revealed that there are different understandings of the various words, but a consensus that there is a need to tidy up the text in this regard. It was finally agreed to call it the Recommendation concerning human resources development: education, training and lifelong learning.
88. Proposals to include 'poverty eradication' as proposed by the African Group were accepted and included in several points in the text.
89. A clause underlying the importance of employers giving work experience to the young was tabled by the African Group and accepted for inclusion.
90. The workers raised an amendment to look for new ways to support HRD in indebted countries, which the African Group accepted.
Therighttotraining 91. The workers raised this matter to the level of a 'go/no go' matter. The African Group discussed it and two views were expressed:
1. That this is a recommendation not a convention, and if governments are not in a position to implement it, then it does not matter.
2. That this should be understood as a 'goal' and not a 'prescription'. And in this regard, the African Group supported the proposition.
92. The majority view was that we should support the 'right to training'. This meant that the African Group withdrew its proposed amendment to the original text, which enshrined this as a right.
93. At its final sitting on 14 June, the HRD Committee formally adopted the Recommendation. However a problem arose which is outlined below.
1 The problem related to a clause in the text which reads as follows:
Clause 5 (f): Members should:
"strengthen social dialogue and collective bargaining on training at international, national, regional, local, and sectoral and enterprise levels as a basic principle for systems development, programme relevance, quality and cost- effectiveness ; "
[The underlined sections indicate the points of principle from the side of the Workers - who insisted repeatedly that all the levels be included. In their view, government had a role to support the parties to bargain even if they do not reach agreement with one another to do so.]
94. The text, as indicated above, was the result of an amendment put by the Governments of Mercusor, on which other Government's were divided and on which the Employers called for a formal vote during the Committee. The outcome of the vote was broadly 49 000 in favour and 38 000 against the amendment.
95. The Employers indicated the day after the vote was taken that they did not agree with the clause and would be submitting an amendment on the day the Committee sat to consider the final adoption of the Recommendation. This they did, after repeated attempts at conciliation. The Employer amendment tabled for discussion was:
"strengthen social dialogue on training at all levels and support bipartite collective bargaining at any level agreed by the social partners, whether international, national, regional, local, sectoral or enterprise levels, as basic principles for systems development, programme relevance, quality and cost-effectiveness, taking the specific national industrial relations systems andpractice into account."
[The underlined sections indicate the points of principle from the side of the Employers. They wanted to stress that the level at which bargaining takes place is a matter for agreement between the parties and not a matter on which government should 'interfere' or 'dictate'. The reference to 'practice' was a late addition, in an attempt to further limit the bargaining levels.]
96. The conciliation attempts included a number of informal sessions, which included the Worker Vice-Chairperson, the Employer Vice-Chairperson, and one representative of each of the major government groups. South Africa attended these sessions as the representative of the African Group. Two sessions were held during which various attempts were made to find a compromise wording. The parties agreed to revert back to their groups on the following wording, although the Employers were somewhat reluctant indicating that their group wanted the words 'agreed levels' in the text:
"strengthen social dialogue and support bipartite collective bargaining on training at international, national, regional, local, and sectoral and enterprise levels as basic principles for system development, programme relevance, quality and cost-effectiveness, taking the specific national industrial relations systems into account. "
97. At the final sitting of the HRD Committee, the Chairperson, indicated that under article 67 of the Standing Orders he had the power to decide whether or not to allow an amendment to an agreed clause. He indicated that he had decided that only if there were a consensus wording would he allow any amendment to be tabled. As there was no agreed text he decided not to allow either of the two proposed amendments. Therefore the Committee formally adopted the text as originally voted.
98. South Africa reminded the Committee that the African Group had had to accept the decision of the Committee on the 'right to training' even though many of the African states would not be able to interpret this as an 'entitlement' to training and implied that the Employers should likewise not see the phrase 'support collective bargaining' as an entitlement to bargain at all levels but rather as a matter that would be settled in particular contexts. The African Group was very disappointed that no resolution to the matter had been found.
99. The HRD Report was tabled for adoption in the Plenary Session on 15th June and adopted.
100. A Record Vote, held on 17 June resulted in a support for the Recommendation. The vote was 338 for, and 93 opposed with 93 abstentions and a quorum of 290. The resolution was therefore passed by a majority of 288.
101. The special session, held on Monday 7 June was addressed by the two co-chairs of the Commission, Presidents Mkapa of Tanzania, and Halonen of Finland. Other invited guests included Mr. Parvanov, President of Bulgaria and Mrs. Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand. Leaders of Employers and Workers representatives also addressed the meeting.
102. The report presents a vision for the future, while acknowledging that there is no quick fix or simple solutions. It attempts to break the current impasse by presenting a positive but critical message on the ways to better harness the potential of globalisation.
103. It also commits member states to promote a process where globalisation has a strong social dimension based on universally shared values, and respect for human rights and individual dignity; one that is fair, inclusive, democratically governed and provides opportunities and tangible benefits for all.
104. Commenting on the report. South Africa pointed to its world leader status in terms of institutions of social dialogue, where partnerships being advocated in the report are formally forged. "In bodies such as the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac), these partnerships are given real meaning in terms of delivering on a people- centred economy," Minister Mdladlana said.
105. Other important elements necessary for more equitable globalisation identified in the report include a greater focus on people, sustainable development, productive and equitable markets, fair rules, globalisation with solidarity, greater accountability, and an effective United Nations.