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ADDRESS BY MRS MACSUZY MONDON, MINISTER FOR EDUCATION, EMPLOYMENT AND HUMAN RESOURCES AT THE SIGNING OF THE SEYCHELLES DECENT WORK COUNTRY PROGRAMME 28TH NOVEMBER 2011, AT THE AUDITORIUM OF THE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION, MONT FLEURI

30.11.2011

Ministers

Mr Charles Dan, Regional Director for Africa and Assistant Director General of the International Labour Organisation

Mr. Christian Ntsay, ILO Director Country Office

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

It is with profound pleasure that I welcome you to this historic gathering, the signing of the Seychelles Decent Work Country Programme 2011-2015, between the Seychelles Government, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and our social partners.

I wish to extend a very special welcome to Mr. Charles Dan, the ILO Regional Director for Africa and Assistant Director General of the International Labour Organisation, who despite his busy schedule has made time to be with us on this auspicious occasion. 

Seychelles joined the ILO in 1977. This milestone marks the long standing relationship between the Seychelles and the ILO and signifies a further step in strengthening our relations and cooperation.

Ladies and gentlemen, our Government has been actively involved over the years in advancing the objective of decent work for all in Seychelles. I am pleased to note that Seychelles features as one of the countries where the Programme has been endorsed at the highest political level. I would therefore like to thank President Michel for his support and interest in the promotion of decent work for every Seychellois.

Decent work is seen as the tool to reverse the trends of pervasive and persistent poverty, unemployment and underemployment especially in the developing countries.  

In this context we commend the ILO for this innovative approach called the Decent Work Agenda, which offers an integrated framework for promoting institutional changes within national economic and social policies. It calls for ILO Member countries to develop mechanism to accelerate progress towards the agreed international development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals. In April 2007, the Decent Work Agenda for Africa was adopted with 17 challenging targets to be achieved by 2015.

Indeed, the objectives of the Decent Work Agenda are as relevant here in Seychelles as in many other countries. Although we have made significant progress to eliminate the scourge of poverty in our land, we should not be complacent.

The Preamble of the ILO Constitution states that “the failure of any nation to adopt humane conditions of labour is an obstacle in the way of the nations which desire to improve the conditions in their own countries”

We in Seychelles have witnessed significant progress in the employment and labour sector over the past five years. Some of the major achievements which testify our commitment to decent work are;

  • The formulation of Social Charter and introduction of the National Consultative Committee on Employment which is the national platform  for discussion on working conditions of employment among several other pertinent labour issues
  • Introduction of a National Minimum Wage which guarantee decent and fair wages  for men and women and for work of equal value
  • Increase in the maternity leave from 12  to 14 weeks to meet the international standards and to safeguard the protection of mothers and their child
  • Launching of HIV Aids policy in the workplace to help mitigate the impact of HIV Aids on workers and their families and social protection to help those infected to cope with the disease.
  • The creation of the Employment Tribunal (2008).
  • Several social protection schemes to help workers who are either sick for long period or become incapacitated as result of accident at work
  • Significant budgetary allocation for skills development programme for the youths especially young mothers to help them integrate better into the world of work.
  • Improvement in employment legislation creating conducive environment for continued private sector expansion thereby creating more employment opportunities
  • Capacity building for small entrepreneurs especially women
  • Introduction of micro credit facilities for individuals to pursue their small businesses.
  • Equal protection of employment legislation among migrant workers and Seychellois workers
  • Work on the review of the Employment Act has been implemented and the Bill is being drafted.

In addition, we have seen growth in employment from 4.7% in 2005 to 5.2% in 2010, leading to a decrease in the unemployment rate which as at September 2011 stood below 2%.

Ladies and Gentlemen, decent work is not only about job creation: it encompasses employment, workers' rights, social protection, social dialogue and equal opportunities. These are the fundamental elements which we seek to achieve in our Decent Work Country Programme. The integration of economic and social policies adds value to the programme.

The Decent Work Country Programme has come at a timely and opportune moment when our country is going through a Macro Economic Reform Programme. The stringent fiscal and economic policies adopted, resulted in job losses for some people. However, we believe that investing in decent work, is not only a commitment to fairness and justice but also a move towards better economic performance, more effective public policy and better governance.

Our Decent Work Programme aims at promoting decent work as a key component of our national development strategies to ensure job security, social inclusion and social protection of our workers. Indeed it is a challenging journey which we are prepared to travel cognizant that the Decent Work Agenda would also lead to the achievement of the objectives of the Millennium Development Goals.

The Seychelles Tripartite constituents have identified three priority areas under our Programme:

  • The Review of the labour legislation and strengthening of the dispute resolution framework
  • The Promotion of quality employment and reduction of unemployment particularly for women and youth
  • The promotion of effective tripartism and social dialogue

The programme gives the concept of social development, which is at the heart of our country’s strategy, its full meaning: what unites us is the conviction that we must ensure development is for the benefit of all.

This year, the Employment Department launched its Strategic Plan 2011-2015. Through this strategic plan, the Employment Department is committed towards achievement of full employment where all Seychellois can find decent job opportunities and maintaining our unemployment rate below 5%. It will also undertake a comprehensive amendment and codification of the Labour legislations to modernize the legislation for ease of business while ensuring workers’ rights. Productivity awareness programmes will be designed to boost productivity, discipline and hard work in the work places, while harmonious industrial relations will be promoted. Labour inspection will be strengthened for compliance with labour legislations to ensure radiation protection, fair, safe and healthy work environment.

This ladies and gentlemen cannot be achieved by Government alone. It requires a combination efforts and commitment of all partners and stakeholders so that we can all take ownership of the programme. Our actions will be successful only, if pursued within a partnership approach. I wish to emphasise on cooperation, working closely with other relevant Government Departments, social partners and civil society organizations. The tripartite signing of the Decent Work Country Programme underscores the support of the social partners in this endeavour.

To conclude, I would like to thank the ILO for taking such an important initiative and to agree to co-fund the five year programme for Seychelles. My appreciation to all those who worked on the programme. Thank you all for your presence at this important event.

I thank you for your attention.

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