Wednesday, July 23, 2008

ILO pledges continued support to Zambia

ILO pledges continued support to Zambia
By Masuzyo Chakwe
Wednesday July 23, 2008 [04:00]

INTERNATIONAL Labour Organisation (ILO) country representative Gerry Finnegan has pledged to continue working with the Zambian government to promote the Zambia decent work country programme. Finnegan said it was not the role of ILO to dictate laws relating to employment and labour to member states but rather to provide expert guidance based on the core international labour law context of the international labour conventions and accompanying recommendations.

He said the government was in the process of amending the industrial and labour relations Act since 2000.

Finnegan said from time to time, the government had invited ILO to participate as observers and provide technical inputs into the deliberations of the Tripartite Consultative Labour Council (TCLC).

He said as with the formulation process for any law, it required considerable dialogue with key stakeholders.

"As a specialised agency of the United Nations system, the ILO is organised around the principles of social dialogue among the tripartite partners and the expression of different views is not seen in terms of disagreement but rather of stating positions and seeking to come up with mutually acceptable and ideally consensual outcomes," he said.

Finnegan said the Bill presented to Parliament was the outcome of significant dialogue between the government and numerous stakeholders, predominantly through the facility of TCLC.

He said ILO's expert guidance to the Parliamentary Committee was not seen as 'disagreement' but as advice and guidance based on the content of ratified international labour conventions including those which Zambia had ratified.

Finnegan pointed out that the international labour conference held in Geneva last month marked several significant milestones for Zambia in its relationship with ILO.

"Firstly, Zambia has now been elected onto the ILO governing body for the term 2008 to 2011; secondly, the conference discussion on rural employment was chaired by Zambia's permanent secretary from the labour ministry as Zambian government delegate; thirdly, the ILO committee on application of standards was satisfied with Zambia's performance in relation to its responses to issues relating to Convention 138 on the minimum age," said Finnegan.

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