Leonard Ncube in Victoria Falls
LABOUR experts from Africa are meeting in Victoria Falls for a weeklong conference aimed at tackling challenges facing workers and addressing issues of forced labour on the continent.
The 43rd edition of the African Regional Labour and Administration Centre (ARLAC) governing council and high level symposium on fundamental principles and rights at work began here Monday and ends on Friday.
Permanent secretaries, principal secretaries and directors from ministries of labour in East and Southern Africa as well as representatives from the International Labour Organisation are locked in meetings with ministerial briefings set for Thursday and Friday.
In his official address on Monday, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Mr Ngoni Masoka, who is chairing the sessions, called for speedy implementation of fundamental principles and rights at work in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)s.
“Fundamental principles and rights at work constitute one of the four pillars of decent work, an integral component of the Sustainable Development Goals and along with employment creation, social security and social dialogue.
“Effective implementation of fundamental principles and rights at work therefore presents an opportunity for balanced and sustainable economic growth and development,” he said.
Mr Masoka said lack of sound rights based development paradigm results in social conflict, adding that genuine stability and sustainable economic development can only be assured when workers’ rights are effectively guaranteed and recognised.
“We should find solutions to tackle the practical challenges that hinder effective application of the core conventions in Africa,” he said.
Mr Masoka implored governments to ratify agreements such as Convention 98 on Collective Bargaining, Convention 29 on Forced Labour, Convention 105 on Abolition of Forced Labour and Convention no. 111 on Non-Discrimination.
ILO director for Namibia and Zimbabwe country office Ms Hopolang Phororo said freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining, elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour, effective abolition of child labour and elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation are some of the rights enshrined in the Fundamental Principles and rights at work adopted in 1998 to affirm global commitment to human rights at work.
She said social dialogue remains paramount in ensuring that the rights of youth, women and men are fully respected, given the current economic challenges facing countries.