Samoa joined the 87 member countries of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on the first day of the 109th International Labour Conference to deliver its keynote address and views on issues facing the world of work.
Samoa took the floor at around 12:30am early Thursday morning with Samoa’s tripartite forum represented through Gatoloai Tili Afamasaga (Workers Representative), Jennifer Ula-Fruean (Employers Representative), Tomasi Peni (ILO National Coordinator) and Albert Meredith (Government Representative).
Albert Meredith, Assistant Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Commerce Industry and Labour (MCIL) delivered Samoa’s statement to a virtual audience of about 218 representatives of governments, employers and workers, engaged in discussions around work issues with a focus on a human-centred recovery from the pandemic.
“On behalf of the Government of Samoa I wish to congratulate your excellency Mr. Omar Zniber Ambassador and Permanent Resident of the Kingdom of Morocco to the United Nations on your appointment as President of the conference and allow me to assure you that you have our full support moving forward.”
Mr Meredith assured the ILC that Samoa supports the position of the ILO Director General Guy Ryder on how the pandemic has bared the inequalities and vulnerabilities in our societies, acknowledging the need for a global approach through multilateral cooperation.
“Samoa also recognizes the importance placed on safety and health systems to ensure workers are protected in light of the deficits being highlighted by COVID 19 including mental health.”
“In this respect I take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank the ILO for its support to Samoa, through mobilization of resources and technical partnerships to assist in our response to the global pandemic.”
“With the support of the ILO Samoa carried out its Rapid Assessment of the Impacts of COVID 19 on businesses, workers and households. The significance of this work is it will pave the way for continued programs and action to target our most affected and vulnerable groups.”
“The review of labour legislation also reflects the continued progression of our labour standards to address gaps including the commitment by the Government of Samoa and its constituents to ratify Convention 190 on Violence and Harassment in the World of work.”
“The challenges over the last 2 years have put the magnifying glass on ongoing issues facing our labour and employment.”
“This has coincided with the review and development of Samoa’s 2nd National Employment Policy which will be targeted towards building back decent employment following the devastating setbacks faced through lay-offs, reduction in working hours, disruptions to seasonal employment opportunities and hardships faced by our seafarers abroad.”
“The response of the ILO to climate change through the launching of the Climate Action for Jobs initiative also deserves special mention given its importance to our Blue Pacific Big Ocean States.”
“The initiative provides a hig– level platform for ensuring that jobs and the well-being of persons are at the centre of a transition to a climate resilient and carbon-neutral economy.”
“It is also a privilege for Samoa to have been appointed Co-Chair of the International Advisory Board together with Spain with whom we are committed to pushing forward and progressing measurable actions towards a just transition for all.
This was also the opportunity for Samoa to reinstate its commitment to stronger working relations with social partners to support the recovery of affected workers and employers through targeted and effective assistance; prioritizing Convention 190 and its objectives to address violence and harassment including sexual harassment and Gender based violence as it occurs in and affects the world of work; to ensure at all times that tripartite consultation forms the foundation of our actions going forward; and continuing joint action together with our Blue Pacific Big Ocean States to promote and further critical issues for our region including climate action and just transition.
Samoa through the MCIL conveyed appreciation to the ILO, Director General Mr. Guy Ryder for the continued support in furthering Samoa’s work towards the ultimate goal of inclusive, full and productive employment. environment during and post COVID 19.