THE International Labour Organization (ILO) is committed to working with the Government to finalize a Decent Work Country Programme for the period 2017- 2021 which is aligned with the country’s 2nd Five Year Development Plan.
Our correspondent Casmir Ndambalilo of MAELEZO explains.
The Decent Work Country Program aims to contribute towards the reduction of poverty through inclusive growth and decent employment. Its priorities are to create employment and increase employability, enhance social protection, strengthen social dialogue and promote the fundamental principles and rights at work. The challenges of creating Decent Work are not particular to Tanzania.
In the world there are over 40 million people who enter the labour market each year.
Tanzania is part of this challenge whereby almost one million people enter the labour market each year. According to Dr Mary Kawar, Director, ILO Country Office for the United Republic of Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda, the government in collaboration with Trade Union Congress of Tanzania (TUCTA) and Association of Tanzania Employers (ATE) are working hard to make Decent Work a reality.
When delivering her remarks on the occasion to Mark the International Labour Day recently in Moshi, Kilimanjaro Region, Dr Kawar said “decent work a reality means improving the working conditions and rights for those who are working and a reality in terms of creating the new jobs.
Indeed, Tanzania’s economic transformation and achievement of middle income status is only around the corner”. She added. She said that Tanzanians have reasons to celebrate the country’s progress.
She mentioned some achievements – all in the short course of the past year as firstly, the government adoption of skills recognition system as part of upgrading informal apprenticeships and providing skilled people with recognizable certificates, essential for the young people who are trying to access decent jobs.
Secondly, the government is reforming social protection so that every worker has access to pensions and health insurance. One significant achievement is the establishment of the workers compensation Fund so that in the case of occupational injuries workers remain secure.
Thirdly, both TUCTA and ATE, working closely with the ILO, have been putting tremendous efforts at ensuring the workers and their families have access to and benefit from HIV and AIDS prevention measures as well as treatment, care and support services at the workplace. For this year, testing and counselling (HTC) is being undertaken in four selected regions targeting 3,500 workers.
And fourthly, at the policy level the government and social partners are developing an employment policy which will ensure the synergies between social and economic policies create the maximum number of new jobs and decent working conditions for young and old workers, women and men.
Dr Kawar recalled the four freedoms which constitute not just the ILO’s global fundamental principles and rights at work, but are by now internationally recognized principles across the world as Freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining; Freedom from discrimination in employment and occupation; Freedom from forced labour; and Freedom from child labour.
“These are enabling rights, the foundation for social progress and the realization of social justice. The principles underlying them are embodied in eight international labour conventions that are promoted by ILO, all of which Tanzania has ratified and already under implementation at various stages.” Congratulations! She remarked.
Dr Kawar commended President Magufuli and his government for the long term objectives under vision 2025 and the FYDP II for Tanzania to attain middle income status, with the plan focusing on economic transformations through industrialization and human development and which also includes access to Decent Work.
She also reiterated the willingness of the United Nations (UN) in general, through its United Nations Develop Assistance Plan, and specifically the ILO, to assist on the development path towards economic transformation, human development and decent work for all.
Speaking at the Workshop on Decent Work Country Programme III (DWCP) held at the ILO Office in Dar Es Salaam recently, Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office responsible for Labour, Youth, Employment and Persons with Disabilities Mr Erick Shitindi said that productive employment and Decent Work were key elements for achieving inclusive business growth and poverty reduction.
He said creation of productive and decent work employment, promotion of labour standards, and rights at work, extension of social security coverage, and enhancement of social dialogue are inevitable factors for improving labour productivity hence mutual industrial development.
“It is the desire of the government of the United Republic of Tanzania and social partners that the next DWCP should perfectly address our aspirations and our priorities in the country,” he said.
In his remarks, the Chairperson of East African Employers Organization (EAEO) General Assembly Mr Nicholas Okwir said East African Community (EAC) aimed at deepening economic, social and political integration and enhancing the region’s competitiveness through enhanced value chain, trade and investments. He called national employers to support EAEO to promote conducive and business friendly environment for the increased productivity.
“The national employers’ organizations should continue supporting EAEO to ensure it meets its objective of advocating for conducive business environment at the regional level,” he said.
On his part, TUCTA Secretary General, Yahya Msigwa, said the congress is currently the sole federation of Trade Union Movement in the country with a total membership of 600,000 workers only out of more than 20 million workers nationwide, and it has coordination offices in all regions in Tanzania mainland. Mr Msigwa stressed on TUCTA’s commitment to continue protecting workers rights for the development of the whole nation.
“TUCTA is and will continue to promote and defend the interests of workers through all means and ways including promoting social dialogue and advocacy for decent work and for harmonized labour relations at all levels,” he said.
He mentioned some of the challenges faced by TUCTA including limited financial capacity, tapping membership from the growing informal sector, improving the working conditions of workers, and inadequate knowledge of their members about labour matters.