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International forum on ‘decent work’

International forum on ‘decent work’

New Zealand is this week hosting representatives of government, employer and worker organisations from 10 South-East Asia and Pacific countries, on behalf of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Participating countries are working towards development of national action plans for fair and productive work.

Margaret Wilson said “decent work” initiatives were about creating quality jobs.

“While New Zealand is doing well economically and our employment rate is strong, partly because we have sustainable jobs as an explicit objective of our labour laws and economic and social policies, unemployment is rising globally and income gaps are growing. Millions in our region don’t have decent work – fair and safe work that enables them to earn enough to support their families and protect their future.

“At this forum representatives of governments, employers and workers will work together to identify common issues and solutions, and share lessons and best practice ideas. There’s a huge amount of good will and intent to consolidate the progress so far in promoting decent work and dialogue between social partners across the region.

“There’s no single formula that will fit us all, but each country should be able to go away from this forum able to develop and implement a national action plan for decent work. It’s significant that New Zealand is hosting the forum and contributing to this vitally important issue,” Margaret Wilson.

Since 1999, the New Zealand has methodically established and strengthened minimum standards to provide fairness, security and opportunity in employment. The good-faith platform of the Employment Relations Act, health and safety regulations that encourage employer and employee participation, paid parental leave, the minimum wage, and a commitment to pay equity and equal opportunities in the workplace all reflect well on New Zealand internationally.

This is the first ILO South-East Asia and Pacific Tripartite forum on Decent Work. Representatives from Australia, Fiji, Indonesia, Kiribati, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste (East Timor) and Vanuatu are attending. The forum runs from 6 to 8 October at the Waipuna Lodge in Mt Wellington, Auckland.

Margaret Wilson says that during the forum’s opening, Timor-Leste and Vanuatu will be welcomed into the ILO as new member states.

“New Zealand and the ILO have been giving considerable support to Timor-Leste and Vanuatu in developing safe and fair labour systems and information. I’m pleased they will be formally welcomed as ILO members here in New Zealand.”

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