Minister appreciate ILO workshop and reiterated on its importance

Honorable Minister
Hon. Elijah Doromuala

Minister for the Ministry of Commerce, Industries, Labour and Immigration (MCILI) Elijah Doromuala applauded the two days workshop facilitated by International Labour Organization (ILO), while elaborating on the importance of the training.

He presented his speech at the opening of the induction workshop at the Kitano Mendana Hotel this week.

“This Workshop today is not like other Workshops. Today is not simply one of those Workshops that have been hosted by an arm of the government, in particular, my Ministry. For this Workshop is on governance and is aimed at equipping participants with the necessary knowledge and understanding to assist you in your roles as a Board Member. At this juncture I must thank the ILO Director and his office, who is being represented today, and the Commissioner of Labour and his staff for initiating such a Workshop,” minister remarked.

“Labour Administration in Solomon Islands for many years has functioned without an established formal tripartite institution. Elements of tripartism do exist, but it has never existed in a formal institution where the government, the employers and workers can operate on a level playing field to consult each other on matters relating to the social and economic issues facing the country. The country has seen the demise of companies in certain sectors of our economy through industrial disputes that could have easily been dealt with and solved through consultations. The country has felt the vacuum that needed an institution to collectively address the terms and conditions of employment of workers, the conditions they face in the working place and the legal provisions that govern employment in the country,” he asserted.

Furthermore he said “I as responsible minister for labour must stress the importance of consultations between the government, the employers and workers. And there must be formally established bodies to enhance a regular dialogue between the parties. As far as tripartism is concerned, the country only has three bodies that provide for tripartism. These are the Trade Disputes Panel, the Solomon Islands National Provident Fund Board and the Labour Apprenticeship Board. These Boards however operate along their jurisdictions that do not allow for critical matters that concerns stakeholders in economic production. For example, the TDP is only for workers to seek redress, the NPF is only to cater for social benefits, while the Apprenticeship Board only for Apprentices. The bigger issues have been left out. It has been on the need to form a body to look at these issues that the Labour Advisory Board was formed.”

“The ground work to establish the Labour Advisory Board begun in 1998. A new Rule was needed to be gazette. The first part of the work was shelved due to the crisis that this country went through. The work resumed in 2006 and continued through the following years up until the final pieces of the Rule was put into Gazette in 2012. In those 6 years, the government has worked with the guidance of the ILO office, Suva, as well as wide consultations with Employers, workers and the Government. There were a total of nine consultative meetings and three drafts that took place before the Rules were finally gazette. One of the most important requirements of the Rules is that there must be a Board. It is also required that the Board Members must be well equipped with the relevant experience and background to assist in the national Government agenda on the promotion of Consultative processes to ensure that this country is ruled by fairness on the part of the government, the employers, and of course our workers. Our economy depends so much on consultative processes,” Doromuala pointed out while briefed on history of the advisory board.

“Your participation in this two days Workshop prepares you for the task ahead. You will be able to develop shared understanding on the ILO, and the role of national tripartism on its functions relating to social dialogue and its benefits. Review the experience of tripartite social dialogue in the country. To deliberate on the Labour Advisory Board Rules and practical implementations of the Rules in the day to day functions of the Board. Deliberate on matters relating to the Legal Minimum Wages. Deliberate on law reviews and to see what we can do for the next 18 months. So it is important that the Board and members must prepare itself in the task mandated to it under the Rules. This program therefore is critical. And I must say that the presence of the Apprenticeship Board members in these two days meeting must be appreciated as well,” Member of Parliament (MP) for South Choiseul asserted.

In conclusion to his remarks, Minister thanked the ILO, the Labour Division, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Labour and Immigration, and our Stakeholders for making it possible to establish the Labour Advisory Board.

“On this note, I look forward to working very closely with the Chairman and members in promoting industrial harmony in both the government and the production sector in realizing the goals and objectives of the Democratic Coalition for Change Government. It is also my wish that social dialogue and the benefits that comes with the spirit of tripartism will help to achieve social justice in the country. I finally extend my best wishes to you and I look forward to working very closely with the Board in its deliberations in the coming months,” Doromuala cited.