20 June 2019

South Africa: Employment and Labour On Skilled Workforce As Backbone of Success

press release

Employers share the International Labour Organisation's belief that a skilled workforce is the backbone of success, not only of the business but also of society as a whole, says Mthunzi Mdwaba, the global spokesperson for employers at the ILO Centenary Celebrations in Geneva, Switzerland.

Employers have expressed solid support for the International Labour Organisation (ILO) as they believe it is one of the best tools that can assist countries to produce labours that are more skilled, boost productivity, create jobs that are more decent and improve local economies.

"We are committed to promoting social dialogue to guarantee sustainable economic growth, concomitant stability and ensure lasting peace," says Mdwaba.

The employers stated that they believe that balanced ILO conventions, recommendations, and supervisory systems matter for business and they would like to make the voice of the employers more solid in deliberations.

"We value the ILO s policy guidance to shape national and international debates in a balanced manner that benefits both workers and employers. In addition, we wholeheartedly want to continue to be a strong voice in those debates, bringing the voice of employers to the table," said Mdwaba.

The employers acknowledged that there are challenges in the tripartite house due to unacceptable mischievousness reference to employers as being the brakes on ILO's work because of differences of viewpoints in certain aspects.

The employers claim that the side-lining of constituents' views has a potential to harm the entire organisation, if this matter is not attended. The employers view the side-lining as undermining the ILO's founding principles, mandate and work. They also call into question the benefit of the organisation through practising this side-lining. The employers believe that the side-lining sabotages social dialogue and tripartism from within.

The employers are also not happy how speakers for events are chosen and tasked. The employers state that the decisions relating to the setting up, structuring and even inviting speakers by the office at the highest level without consulting employers and other stakeholders is unacceptable.

Regarding the Global Commission report that was co-chaired by President Cyril Ramaphosa and ILO Director-General Guy Ryder, the employers were impressed with its content and feel that it will be of great use.

However, some employers felt that more consultation should have been done to improve inclusivity, transparency and balance. This move could have accommodated and integrated a variety of recommendations that are based on different sources to ensure impact that is meant to change the lives of the people.

Mdwaba also gave his views on various committees at the ILO Conference. He says that the committee on social justice is expected to produce an outcome document that will include both a promise of decent work for all, along with a commitment to creating an environment where access to equal opportunities, full and productive employment, and economic growth is fostered. The outcome document will focus the ILO's work more on anticipating skills shortages effectively, promoting productivity growth and credible effective leadership.

The employers have unanimously stated that they believe that violence and harassment is unacceptable wherever it occurs, including in the workplace. To realistically address violence and harassment, the employers have expressed their firm commitment to work for an instrument that can be widely implemented in national law and practiced in all Member States. They argue, effective protection against violence and harassment goes both ways and protection is essential for employers as well.

Employers emphasised that the ILO needs to show the world that it is capable of adopting standards that are effective and appropriate. At the time, we had this interview with Mdwaba; delegates were busy deliberating on the Committee on Application of Standards, a body of work that will provide the highest tripartite guidance to implement ILO Standards. The ILO representatives at the Conference have made commitments and promises that the organisation will lead change and ensure positive impact in the workplace and labour market.

The ILO Centenary Conference halls and auditoriums are packed with close to 6 000 delegates from various nationalities, deliberating on various issues of labour and the discussions and resolutions will continue until the last day of the Conference, June 21.

Issued by: Department of Employment and Labour

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