DRAFT REPORT ON THE ILC 6-16 JUNE 2005
The 93rd session of the International Labour Organisation was scheduled from 31 May to 16 June 2005 in Geneva, Switzerland. The agenda of the Conference included:
South African delegation
Mr MMS Mdladlana, Minister of Labour
Dr V Mkhosana, Director-General, Department of Labour (DOL)
Mr J Malatse, Executive Manager: Occupational Health and Safety, DOL
Mr S Nakanyane, Executive Manager: Research, Policy and Planning, DOL
Mr G Moroasi, Assistant Manager: Legal Unit, DOL
Mr V Seafield, Assistant Manager: Labour Relations, DOL
Ms Z Sigabi, Communications Officer, DOL
Ms L Lusenga, Labour Attache: SA Permanent Mission, Geneva
Mr L Gumbi, Deputy Permanent Representative: Permanent Mission, Geneva
Ms T Motheohane, Private Secretary to the Minister
Parliament of the Republic of SA
Ms OR Kasienyane MP, Chairperson: Portfolio Committee on Labour
Mr CM Lowe, MP
Mr L Maduma, MP
Ms P Jayiya, Committee Secretary
Mr V van Vuuren, Chief Operations Officer, Business Unity of South Africa (BUSA)
Mr B Botha, Advisor: Internatinal Affairs, BUSA
Ms A Ndoni, Member: Standing Committee on Social Policy, BUSA
Ms F Dowie, Chief Officer: Strategic Services, BUSA
Mr A Van Niekerk, Legal Adviser: BUSA
Mr C Lotter, Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Advisor: BUSA
Ms Z Maila, Youth Advisor: BUSA
Mr N Muller, Fishing Advisor: BUSA
Mr R Manda, Fishing Advisor, BUSA
Ms R Ramdin, OHS Advisor: BUSA
Mr I Patel, Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU)
Mr Z Vavi, Secretary-General: COSATU
Mr CA Milani, General-Secretary: FEDUSA
Mr J Maqhekeni, President: NACTU
Ms A Rantsolase, COSATU
The parliamentary delegation arrived in Geneva on 6 June 2005 and joined the Conference during its second sitting. The agenda of the Conference was the following:
The meeting was officially opened by Mr Trotman (Worker Vice-President) who announced that the President was unable to attend the opening. As Acting President, he requested the Government Group Chairperson, Ambassador Yimer from Ethiopia, to propose the election of a new President for the 93rd session of the International Labour Conference.
The following persons were elected:
President: Minister Khalil, Minister of Labour:Jordaan
Worker Vice-President: Mr Trotman, Barbados
Employer Vice-President: Mr Fuernes, Argentina
Having outlined the procedures and identified other officers at the meeting, the Chairperson suspended the plenary until Monday, 6 June 2005.
The group first met on Tuesday 31 May, and finalised its group spokespersons in the respective committees as follows:
Committee on Finance South Africa
Committee on Youth Nigeria
Committee on Occopational Safety and Health Senegal
Committee on Work in the Fishing Sector Namibia
Committee on the Application of Standards Nigeria
Based on the program as agreed during the first sitting, the Group met daily as scheduled. The Minister of Labour from Cuba addressed the Group and solicited its support for Cuba's Governing Body membership. The Group was better organised and, the Johannesburg Conference decision for Africa to have common positions on matters impacting on Africa is beginning to make Africa a force to be reckoned with.
Governing Body Membership
The African Union Commission on Labour and Social Affairs decided during its Johannesburg sitting, after regional consultations, to ratify proposals as agreed by regional representatives.
The following representation was endorsed in Geneva and informs the current Governing Body membership for the period 2005-2008.
Southern Africa South Africa (Titular)
(See Annexure A for the list of elected Governing Body members)
Finance Committee of Government
This Committee considered eight agenda items and concluded as follows:
Requests for permissions to vote
Armenia and Moldova requested the Committee to restore their right to vote after making financial arrangements to settle the outstanding balance. The Committee agreed to recommend to the Conference that their right to vote be restored. The Committee voted in favour of this decision on Monday, 6 June.
The South African Minister of Labour addressed the plenary on 6 June This was done by virtue of him being the current Chairperson of the AU Labour and Social Affairs Commission. He reiterated the fact that there is a need for Africa as a continent to devise comprehensive and collective means to address the problems of poverty and unemployment. He emphasised that joblessness and poverty are a threat to peace and stability.
The delegation noted the important role played by South Africa in the ILO. This was evident by it being elected as a Titular member to the Governing Body, the role it plays in the Africa group and the Minister being the Chairperson of the AU Commission on Labour anal Social Affairs.
Address by the Presidents of Algeria and Nigeria
The two heads of State from Algeria and Nigeria addressed the 93rd session of the ILC on 7 and 10 June respectively.
In his speech, the President of Algeria, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, called for a social dimension of globalisation. He also referred to the Algerian experience relating to democracy and employment, and his country's strategy that includes fighting unemploymE'nt, particularly among the youth. According to President Bouteflika, the promotion of youth employment through the creation of micro-enterprises, micro-credit programmes, pre-employment contracts, rural development programmes and temporary employment schemes have shown good results. To fight youth unemployment in Algeria, the government has launched an integrated policy based on multi-level training activities and economic growth, stimulating and enabling job creation and employment.
Addressing the Africa Group, on 7 June 2005, President Bouteflika reiterated that Africa needs capacity for handling better dialogue among social partners. The 53 African states represented are a considerable force to make an impact in the discussions within the ILO. He welcomed the commitment to the New Partnership of Africa's development, and the importance of meeting the resolutions taken at the special summit in Ouagadougou in September 2004.
President Obasanjo alluded to the fact that decent work and debt relief were needed to build a" new Africa". The reduction of poverty and youth unemployment remains a critical challenge. The AU had taken up the challenge by emphasising skills building, agriculture, the expansion of the private sector, small and medium scale enterprise development, and retraining as ways of creating jobs for unemployed youth and adults.
Both Presidents addressed the plenary and the Africa Group.
Governing Body elections
The International Labour Conference elected the members of the Governing Body for the period 2005-08 on 6 June. The Governing body is composed of 56 regular members (28 governments, 19 employers and 19 workers). Cameroon, Kenya, Malawi, Morocco Nigeria and South Africa were elected as six regular members representing Africa.
The Conference, in terms of the Article 13(4) of the ILO Constitution, adopted a resolution concerning the arrears of Armenia and the Republic of Moldova.
2. Summary of the reports
Report of the Chairperson of the Governing Body
The Chairperson of the Governing Body of the International Labour Office, Mr Ilipe Seguin, presented his report on the work of the Governing Body covering 2004-05.
The presentation highlighted the aspects deserved special attention that related to international labour standards. In this area the Governing Body invited the Director-General to launch a campaign to promote the core Conventions of the ILO, the integrated approach to standards-related activities, the consolidation maritime instruments and the revision of certain constitutional procedures. However, this past year saw the adoption of a new version of the Memorandum concerning the obligation to submit Conventions and Recommendations to the competent authorities, as well as an introductory note to the Standing Orders concerning the procedure for the examination of representations under Articles 24 and 25 of the Constitution of the ILO.
The Governing Body had handled numerous representations made under Article 24 and had taken decisions on the follow-up to complaints submitted under Article 26 of the Constitution. These included the cases of non-observance of Conventions by the Republic of Belarus and the Governmcnts of Venezuela and Myanirnar.
In March 2005, the Committee on Technical Co-operation (CTC) examined and approved the" Priorities and action plans for technical cooperation" under the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and its follow-up, which focused on freedom of association and effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining. The action plan was based on the discussion of the Global Report at the Conference in 2004. The CTC noted the action which was carried out within the ILO's biggest technical co-operation programme, namely the International Programme for the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC).
In addition to the focus on technical cooperation, the year under review was characterised by a very intense discussion of the Director-General's proposals for the Programme and Budget for 2006/07.
The Chairperson, on behalf of the Governing Body commended the impact of the support the ILO gave to the Extraordinary Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union on Employment and Poverty Alleviation in Africa, which was held in Ouagoudou in September 2004.
At recent sessions of the Governing Body, the Working Party on the Social Dimension of Globalisation concentrated on an examination of the best means of promoting decent work as a global objective. The report noted that the efforts by the ILO may attest to its will to place the decent Work Agenda, notably, the promotion of a tripartite approach to the framing of national and international policies at the heart of strategies for economic, social and environmental development. This synergy between action of the ILO to promote decent work as a global objective and the activities of other organisations within the United Nations family aimed at achieving the Millennium Development Goals and meeting the targets of Poverty Reduction Strategy, offer a clear example of the' coherence that exists between the policies recommended by the World Commission.
Report of the Director-General
The Secretary General, Mr Somavia, informed the Conference that the global employment crisis facing the world puts democracy, security and stability at risk and needed to be addressed as a matter of urgency. "the global economy has evolved into an ethical vaccum" with policies that many feel are organised too much around market values and too little around human values. The overall effect is more insecurity and less freedom. Concern was growing world-wide over imbalances between globalisation and growth, and job creation.
The disconnection between economic growth and job creation must be repaired. Employment and decent work must be moved fully into the mainstream of the international development debate. Mr Somavia reflected on the agenda of the ILC and supported initiatives such as efforts to help the youth find decent jobs, address the issue of forced labour in the global economy, to finalise a comprehensive new standard for the world's fishing industry, to review the impact of standards on hours of work, and to scrutinize the application of Conventions and standards by ILO members states.
3. Summary of discussions in Committees
Committee on Safety and Health (OSH)
In June 2003 the ILC adopted a global strategy for occupational safety and health (OSH). The aim was to build and maintain a preventative safety and health culture, focused on the right to a safe and healthy environment and a systematic approach to managing OSH. The strategy included:
In July 2004 the Office produced Report IV (I), titled Promotional framework for Occupational Safety and Health, which provided much technical background and proposals for a new instrument on promotional framework for OSH. The same report included a questionnaire about the way forward, and responses to this questionnaire were summarised in Report IV (2). The second report included a commentary prepared by the Office, together with the proposed conclusions for discussion by the Committee.
The Committee met for its first sitting on 31 May zoos. rt consisted of 192 members (73 Government members, 48 Employer members and 71 Worker members). To achieve quality of voting strength, each Government member was allotted 3 408 votes, each Employer member 5 183 votes and each Worker member 3 504 votes.
The Committee elected its Officers as follows:
Chairperson: Mr A Bekes (Government member, Hungary);
Vice Chairpersons: Mr C Lotter (Employer member, South Africa), and
Ms P Seminano (Worker member, United States)
Reporter: Mr A Annakin (Government member, New Zealand)
The Committee held 13 sittings with a view to discuss and finalise two crucial elements in the process of establishing a promotional framework on Occupational Safety and Health. According to the proposals, the Committee was expected to come up with the following during this Conference:
1. Define the form of the instrument and,
2. The outline of the instrument. (This relates to the nature/structure of the instrument).
The Office made a presentation on the report to the Committee and emphasized that the discussions should culminate the form of a Convention and Recommendation.
Workers and the African Government members, as well as many European Union countries supported the proposal by the Office. The Employer group supported by the Governments of the JS, UK, Switzerland, Australia and the Netherlands opposed this proposal and indicated that they were in favour of a declaration.
After a vote on the matter, it was decided tci 90 the route of an instrument in a form of a Convention and a Recommendation as proposed by the Office.
The committee proceeded on the remaining points of the proposed conclusions for amendments to the text. The proposed amendments were as follows:
This relates to national policy forming the framework on Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) in a country.
Implications to South Africa
This area has no major impact as it is currently being addressed through the process of integrating Occupational Health and Safety and Compensation Commission competencies
Other changes related to shifting the clause on"National System" come before the one on "National Programme ". This was informed by the fact that the national programme is part of implementation of the system.
This is the implementation component which includes identifying and targeting high-risk areas as part of an OHS Programme. In the case of South Africa, these include iron and steel, construction, agriculture, food and beverage sectors, as well as the elimination of 5:ilicosis programme.
This outlines the OHS situation in a country. In the case of South Africa, the situation relates to the process of integrating OHS and CC into a single competency to deal with the problem of fragmentation, which causes inefficiency to the system.
The committee emphasised the promotion of OSFI as part of the core objective on the "decent work for all.
However, the final report was considered and adopted by the Committee on 13 June. The latter was discussed and adopted during the plenary on 16 June. The 94th session in 2006 will hold a second discussion on the matter with a view to establish a new Convention and Recommendation.
Committee on the Application of Standards
In accordance with Article 7 of the Standing Orders, the Conference set up a Committee to consider and report on item IIIon the agenda, namely, Information and Reports on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations. The composition of the Committee included Government delegates, Employer delegates and Worker delegates. In addition, 34 international non-governmental organisations were represented as observers.
The Committee elected its Officers as follows:
Chairperson: Mr Sergio Paixao Pardo (Government member, Brazil);
Vice Chairpersons: Mr Edward E. Potter (Employer member, US);
Mr Luc Cortebeeck (Worker member, Belgium);
Reporter: Ms Carine Parra (Government member, France)
The Committee considered information and reports supplied by Governments in pursuance of Articles 19, 22 and 35 of the ILO Constitution on measures taken to give effect to Conventions and Recommendations. In line with the indicated Articles, the Committee's discussions focussed on the following:
The first area of debate focussed on the ILO's supervisory mechanisms, (Article 19 of the ILO Constitution on adoption of the International Labour Standards and submission of the newly adopted instruments to the competent authority) and the mandate of the Committee on the Application of Standards.
The Committee considered the General Survey - application of ratified or unratified conventions. The extensive debate or the hours of work survey was to ascertain whether hours of work should be fixed or flexible.
By the end of April 2005, 109 states had ratified eight fundamental Conventions and 26 ratified seven.
During its second week, the Committee considered 25 individual cases relating to the application of various Conventions. The examination of the individual cases was based principally on the observations contained in the Committee of Experts report, and oral and written explanations provided by the governments concerned. However, time restrictions required the Committee to select a limited number of individual cases among the Committee of Experts' observations.
Social partner representatives and a number of countries expressed their dissatisfaction on the working methods of the Committee. Most developing countries, led by Cuba, raised their dissatisfaction at the measures taken to deal with the revision of working methods. The question of transparency and fairness was raised. Developing countries felt that the manner in which countries are chosen to answer to the Committee marginalised most members from developing countries. This was viewed as an abuse of power by developed countries. Swaziland and Zimbabwe were on the list of countries that were summoned to appear before the Committee.
1. Competent authority:
Employers pointed out that the obligation to submit instruments adopted by the ILC to the competent authorities arose from the ILO Constitution and that the term "competent authority" referred to the legislature. They, therefore urged Governments to comply with this obligation and, if necessary, approach the ILO for technical assistance. The worker representative supported this position.
2. Working method of the Committee:
The request by developing countries for transparency and a fair procedure in the identification and listing of countries to appear before the Committee was not addressed. This matter needs to be addressed as the Committee continues to engage in political matters of member states.
3. Hours of Work:
The majority of member states supported the proposal that there should be no amendments to the Conventions and that the hours of work remain as they are in both Conventions 1 and 30. It became abundantly clear in the debate that no member was opposed to the flexible observation of minimum standards.
However, the workers group emphasised the link between hours of work, and health and safety of workers. They highlighted the importance of recognising workers as social beings deserving time -or family life and time for recreation and self-development.
Members proposed that an urgent meeting of experts be called to probe further whether there was justification to tamper with the provisions of Conventions 1 and 30, and whether a new international instrument was necessary. It was agreed that the Governing Body should ensure a tripartite involvement in the envisaged process.
The Committee also debated the issue of respect for obligations. A number of countries listed were called to account for failing to report on their obligations. These were Afghanistan, Armenia, Cambodia, Haiti, Loa Peoples Democratic Republic, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
A government representative indicated that the new Ministry of Labour, with the technical assistance of the ILO, would make every effort to submit to the competent authorities the instruments adopted at the 82nd session of the Conference. Other countries failed to respond as they were registered but not accredited with the Committee, and therefore could not furnish their responses. The Committee expressed its dissatisfaction at the latter situation.
The general feeling was that some of these countries' conditions of conflict, poverty and lack of capacity should be considered.
Regarding countries that were on the list of violations of Conventions, the Committee dealt with these cases in the following manner:
Colombia: Convention 87 - Freedom of Association and Protection of Rights to Strike
Unions had alleged that Government had deprived --hem of their right to strike and their members killed. The Government Fad repeatedly pointed out that the existence of the drug cartels were responsible for these activities. The Committee Chairperson was invited to visit the country for a first-hand experience of the developments.
The Committee condemned all acts of violence and requested the Government to provide detailed reports on developments at its next meeting. The Government was also requested to report on progress made with regards to finalised murder cases.
Russia Federation: Convention 87 - Freedom of Association and Protection of Rights to Strike
The workers alleged that the current legislation was restricting their right to strike. The process was tedious and restrictive in that a strike could only take place with the involvement of a two-thirds majority. Employees, especially those with two jobs, were not allowed to strike. Government indicated that it was in the process of amending legislation to bring it in line with the Convention.
The Committee requested Government to take all necessary measures to speed- up the process of finalising the legislative amendments.
Panama: Convention 87 - Freedom of Association and Protection of Rights to Strike
The complaint related to the restrictive current legislation that denies individuals the rights to freedom of association and protection of rights to strike. The complaints were listed as follows:
(1) The limitation on the number of party representatives in the collective bargaining process. This allows interference with the autonomy of trade unions.
(2) The imposed penalty for withdrawing from a collective agreement.
(3) The imposition of conditions on the establishment of trade unions for civil servants
The Government argued that it had inherited the status quo from the previous government. It is currently engaged in a process of legislative amendments to bring the law in line with the instrument. Technical assistance had been requested from the ILO.
The Committee was concerned that the ILO had not yet afforded Panama the necessary assistance despite the request. It tirged the Government to resolve other problems through dialogue.
Swaziland: Convention 87 - Freedom of Association and Protection of Rights to strike
The complaints related to the following:
Workers alleged that the existence of the Internal Security Bill was intended to harass the unionists. They further alleged that the Government activities led to the death of a unionist. The process before unions could result in industrial action.
The Government responded by pointing out that there was no such bill in existence. The process was terminated four years: ago after discontent from the general community. The Government also indicated that it had no knowledge of any fatality during the said demonstration, and challenged the unions to produce evidence of such a death.
With respect to the allegation around the scope of the Industrial Relations Act on the Prison Services, the Government contended that the matter was under consideration in order to comply with the Convention since prison staff is regarded as "armed forces" in the Kingdom.
The Government further illustrated progress made seeking to practically effect the provisions of the Convention. They indicated that the current constitutional process in the country, which has reached draft constitution status, takes into account the protection and promotion of fundamental rights and freedoms.
In his intervention, the worker representative outlined their frustrations as workers on the exclusive nature of the process of constitutional consultations and how power still resided power in the hands of the head of state.
Governments from almost all the developing countries supported the Government by appreciating progress made especially relating to amendments made in an endeavour to comply with the Convention.
Swaziland appreciated the comments made and reiterated its position that no unionist was killed as claimed by the unions. According to them this was further strengthened by the failure of the unions to provide any evidence of this incident.
Both employers and workers called for Swaziland to accept a high-level mission that would investigate the alleged killing. It should also look into the implementation of the amendments and how these are put into practice. Employers emphasised the need for the Government to implement social dialogue.
Committeee ‘s conclusion
NIGER: Convention 182 Worst Forms of Child Labour
The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions alleged that Niger was practicing the worst forms of child labour in that young girls were trafficked for domestic work and sexual exploitation, whilst young boys were used for economic exploitation. Niger was therefore in violation of Convention 182.
The Government of Niger argued that its country was again being accused under this Convention. It indicated that it had ratified eight fundamental Conventions, including Convention 182, as part of the process of eradicating human rights violations.
However, the Government denied that the country practised child labour as well as child trafficking within its territory. The Government of Niger appealed to the Committee to remove its name from the list. Several countries confirmed on behalf of the Government of Niger that no such practices were in place in Niger and called on the Committee to remove its name from the list.
Committee ‘s conclusions
The Committee was concerned that such practices were harmful to the welfare and health of children, and indicated that the Government should enhance its efforts to eradicate child labour.
Recommendations made to the Government of Niger were as follows:
(1) It should ensure access to free education, especially in rural areas.
(2) It should remove all minor children below 18 years from begging and working in the mines and quarries
(3) It should provide additional information to the Committee.
(4). Since it denies the existence of child labour, a fact-finding mission should be carried out to establish this fact. It should seek technical assistance from the ILO.
TURKEY: Convention 87 Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise
The Government of Turkey was accused of refusing workers, especially those in the public sector, to exercise their right to organise themselves and to join trade unions. Article 2 of the Convention provides that workers without distinction have the right to organise to join any trade union of their choice.
The Government stated that it had already amended its labour legislation to bring it in line with the Convention. In addition, workers in Turkey were free to join any Union they wished within them sectors. Turkey was in compliance with the provisions of Convention 87. The worker and employer representatives from Turkey confirmed that there was freedom of association in their country. The listing of their country was a surprise to them. This was conceded to by the biggest federation in Turkey and supported by other countries.
The Committee concluded that government should put measures and procedures in place to ensure that there is proper consultation with respect to the ratification of Conventions. It should provide the Committee with a detailed report of the developments. The Government should promote dialogue with social partners and ensure consultation. Lastly, it should seek technical assistance from the ILO.
ZIMBABWE: Convention 98-Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) raised a concern around the Government's continued anti-trade union activities based on the fact that the Labour Relations Act requires collective agreements to be submitted for Ministerial approval, and be published as statutory instruments in order for them to be in force. A provision to fix maximum wages was still in force.
The ZCTU further alleged that the Government was not prepared to engage in tripartite negotiations, and that the latter system lacked a governing statute and relied on the will of the Government to be convened.
There was a difference of opinion among other SCTU representatives who challenged the allegations expressed by the General Secretary. This position was supported by the employer representatives from Zimbabwe, who pointed out that the labour laws were very sound. They were surprised at the allegations levelled against Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe maintained that this development was another way of being targeted for political reasons. The Government representative of Zimbabwe expressed a concern at the procedures used for the selection of the individual cases to be examined by the Conference Committee. He, therefore, called for a review of the working methods of the Committee, especially with regard to the criteria and reasons for the selection of individual cases.
All African countries commended the Government of Zimbabwe for the progress made with regard to amendments as proposed by the Committee in 2004. They indicated their surprise at Zimbabwe being on the list and questioned the workings of the Committee, especially with regard to identifying countries that should appear for alleged violations. The African position was supported by the Governments of Cuba and China.
Some members of the Industrialised Market Economy Countries (IMEC) suggested that the government of Zimbabwe should accept a direct contact mission and technical assistance from the ILO in order to bring its laws in line with the Convention.
The Committee noted that the government had informed the committee of experts that the provision concerning Ministerial approval of collective agreements was being amended and urged the Government to take all the necessary measures to make the law and practice comply with the Convention.
It further requested the Government to submit a clear and comprehensive report to the committee of experts, which contained information on all problems indicated in the complaint.
The Government was urged to obtain technical assistance from the ILO. The Committee concluded its work and adopted the report.
Committee on Work in the Fishing Sector
The fishing sector had been identified as a sector that required attention as a result of the nature of work that is performed n the sector and the current provisions that do not apply to fishermen. These provisions do not take into account the nature of the fishing operations, employment relations, and other issues of social protection.
The first discussion on a comprehensive standard (a Convention supplemented by a Recommendation) on work in the fishing sector took place at the 92nd Session (2004) of the ILC. Following that discussion, the Labour Office prepared and submitted to the governments of member states Report V (1), which contained a proposed Convention and Recommendation based on the conclusions adopted by the ILC at its 92nd Session.
The Committee held its first sitting on 31 May 2005. Originally it consisted of 123 members (54 Government, 21 Employer and 48 Worker representatives). The Committee elected its Officers as follows:
Chairperson: Mr F Ribeno Lopez (Government representative, Portugal) at its first sitting
Vice Chairperson: Ms R Karikari Anang (Employer representative, Ghana) and
Mr P Mortensen : (Worker representative, Denmark) at its first sitting.
Reporter Mr C; Boumbopolous (Government representative Greece) at its second sitting.
The Committee held 16 sittings and considered Reports V(2A) and V(2B) as prepared by the office as the fifth item of the agenda of the Conference.
South Africa was represented by the following persons:
Mr N Campbell (Government representative)
Mr V SeafieId (Government representative)
Mr K Masemola ( Worker representative)
Mr R Manda ( Employer representative)
However, the discussions at the 93rd Session were a follow-up to the first discussions that were held in June 2004, as well as those that were held in December 2004 with a tripartite committee of experts on the fishing sector The Committee of Experts dealt with issues such as the provision of accommodation, the construction of vessels in accordance with the provisions of the sectoral determination, noise and vibration control and other provisions of a technical nature.
The 93rd session attempted to refine the current draft., social security protection for fishers and special provisions for larger vessels.
Issues dealt with were as follows:
Special provisions for large vessels
With respect to the position that has been forwarded at the African Union Labour and Social Affairs Commission, South Africa confident that we will meet those objectives.
The Committee discussed and finalised the text with regard to social security. This seemed to be a contentious area for the Committee as a number of member states were against the extension of social security to fishers, whether nationals or non-nationals This was due to the contributory nature of some social security systems in certain countries.
The Committee agreed to a text that effectively accepted that the extension of social security to fishers should be done in terms of national laws, practice and regulations. The latter takes into consideration the position of individual member states on whether national legislation makes such provision or not, and is in line with the position that was agreed at the African Union Labour and Social Affairs Commission meeting. In a situation where such a right has been extended to non-nationals, the maintenance of social security should be protected in bilateral agreements or arrangements where they exist or where new ones are negotiated.
With respect to accommodation, greater flexibility was arrived at with the introduction of a clause that allowed for substantial equivalence. This would allow for member states to have conditions that are substantially equivalent to those set in the Convention, in the event that members found it difficult to comply with.
Issues dealt with by the Committee were as follows
The Committee dealt with amendments to the Anne;- of Convention III as it relates to standards of accommodation for fishing vessels and special provisions for vessels larger than 24 metres.
A new article was proposed for fishing vessel owners with respect to employer liability in terms of medical care where a fisher is on foreign soil. This requires the fishing vessel owner to be responsible for the cost of medical care as well as related maintenance costs whilst the fisher is sick or injured. The flexibility that is provided in terms of this article is that the cost could be recouped if the fisher acted fraudulently
With respect to the closing articles of the convention, the following two issues were agreed upon:
With respect to the Fishermen's Competency Certificates Convention of 1966, these Conventions could not be ratified by member states that still wished to ratify it but member states that have already ratified it, would continue reporting on them. South Africa has not ratified any of these Conventions.
The Committee agreed that the Convention would come into effect when at least 10 member states had ratified the Convention with at least eight of them being from the coastal states. It further agreed that previous fisher Conventions would be revised automatically' if a member state ratified the new proposed Convention. The only existing fisher Convention that would not be revised was the one on a fisher's vocational training.
The text of the proposed recommendation was amended and provided a set of guidelines for member states to utilize when they implemented the Convention.
It was reported that the ILO had launched a campaign against the Trafficking of women and children.
The following matters were identified and outlined in the AU Labour and Social Affairs Commission and were agreed to by the Conference.
The following draft resolutions were proposed for submission to the plenary on 15 June.
(1) The impact of the earthquake and Tsunami disaster in the Indian Ocean
This resolution was meant to request the Director-General of the ILO when using the resources of the organisation, to use the expertise at its disposal in order to make a contribution to the labour market, employment and social protection needs of the affected countries.
(2) Social security protection in the fishing sector
The ILO should promote social security protection for fishers and prepare a global report on the provision of social security protection for fishers.
(3)The impact of globalisation of the fishing sector
This resolution proposed to the ILO that a report be developed after examining the impact of globalisation on the fishing sector. The report should include the growing employment or engagement of non-domiciled fishers.
(4) Occupational diseases and injuries in the fishing sector The proposal was aimed at the examination of occupational diseases and injuries affecting fishers by the ILO and the World Health Organisation and the impact on both the fishing sector arid fishers and their dependants.
(5) Technical cooperation relating to work in the fishing sector This proposal requested the ILO to assist countries by providing technical expertise to member states that wanted to ratify the proposed Convention.
The manner in which issues were dealt with was appreciated, as matters were resolved through consensus. In the event of disagreements, parties world ask for an adjournment so that the spokesperson could consult his or her principals.
These resolutions were adopted on 15 June by the Plenary.
Committee of Youth Employment
This Committee engaged in discussions and debate on challenges and approaches to the problems of youth employment.
Youth unemployment was identified as a global challenge that warranted an integrated approach.
In 2004, the ILO organised a tripartite meeting or Youth Employment to identify initial areas of agreement for discussion. This meeting produced a substantive document, which together with the contents of a report of the general survey of the Committee on the Application of Standards and Recommendations on Employment Promotion, informed the discussion document for the ILC Committee on Youth Employment.
Specific areas that informed the discussion were identified as follows:
(1). The major disadvantages faced by young people in the labour market and the possible consequences of --heir lack of access to decent work
Discussions around this matter concluded that challenges facing young people were multi-dimensional. Issues such as the demand and supply of labour, and the lack of demand for labour due to a lock of investments and low economic growth were identified as factors impact negatively on employment.
Other points of agreement raised related to factors such as the lack of relevant skills and labour market information. The former related to what has been identified as a mismatch between education and skills required by the industry. The outcome of this situation is availability of skills not demanded by the 4ndustry thus contributing to unemployment.
Nigeria, speaking on behalf of the African Group, emphasised the importance of youth employment in alleviating poverty on the continent. This position, supported by South Africa, is in line with the resolutions of the AU Labour and Social Affairs Commission meeting held in Johannesburg in April 2005.. It was emphasised that Youth Employment should not be viewed in isolation from the overall unemployment problem, especially in Africa.
(2) Components of the package of policies, and programmes that encourage decent work for young people
Discussions on this topic touched on a wide-array of policies required to on address the interventions development challenge of youth unemployment. These included relating to education and training, entrepreneurship and the support for small and medium enterprise development.
The Committee supported the identified policy options. The Africa group emphasised the importance of the development of co-operatives in attempting to address the challenge of youth unemployment.
South Africa was concerned at whether having identified all these interventions as discussed before, it would not be appropriate to check if there were structural problems, which these policies are unable to address. This position, supported by other Committee members, was informed by the need to shift from focusing on discussions to the implementation programme.
(3). Respective roles of Governments, employer and worker organisations in promoting pathways to decent work for young women and men
The Committee concluded that this responsibility could not be borne by governments only, as it was an inclusive responsibility. There was a need to engage social partners and other interested parties. This position was informed by the realisation that persistent youth unemployment has serious implications to all social partners.
(4). The establishment of a new instrument by the ILO that will focus on youth employment
The ILO needed to get an indication whether it should begin a process of establishing a Convention that would specifically focus on youth employment. Discussion on this matter received C' negative response to such an approach. Member states argued that there was a plethora of instruments in existence that supported employment. It was concluded that the ILO needed to strengthen the supervisory mechanism in order to enhance the existing instruments.
The Committee reached consensus on the causes, implications and necessary policy interventions related to the identified problem. There was no contentious area of disagreement as the discussions confirmed the same issues identified by forums that met before this session.
The issues and challenges reflected the same issues as those that related to opportunities brought by young workers into the working environment. It was realised that young workers seek employment in diverse surroundings, and that there was lack of ali3nment between skills and education.
On the policies and programmes, the one-size fits all approach was not applicable. There was a need for a coherent approach that combines macro- and microeconomic intervention. Governments needed some space in the formulation of policies and should most importantly place growth and employment generation at the centre of their national policy objectives.
The action plan, however, called upon the ILO to amongst other things-
The ILO was also called upon to undertake, as part of the advocacy a campaign to promote these conclusions
The Committee stressed that the ILO should as part of the technical assistance-
The ILO was also called upon to maximise the comparative advantage of its tripartite structures in its activities to promote decent work.
Resolution on Youth Employment
In line with the Conference procedures, the conclusions of the Committee were supported by a Resolution that invited the Governing Body to give due consideration to these conclusions in its planning for future activities around youth employment and for the Director-General to give consideration to these in his implementation of the budget for the 2006-07 financial year.
The Committee adopted its report, which will b' used as a basis for future discussions on the matter.
Youth Employment Network (YEN) debate
The YEN, a structure established to connect global youth employment initiatives, held a side event in which countries shared their experiences on youth employment. What emerged from this discussion was an emphasis on the need for collectivity that is, the involvement of social partners and youth structures in challenges posed by this problem. The UK, through its Africa partnership initiative, expressed its willingness to assist in funding some of the initiatives by the Office supporting member states in their approaches.