The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has expressed its happiness following the successful dialogue that was held by employers and employees in the country two weeks ago. It was dubbed “Bipartite Dialogue for jobs 2022” and was the first event of its kind in Eswatini. The ILO usually works with the tripartite where all social partners which comprise of government, employees and employers are represented. However, this time they provided support for a bipartite dialogue where employers were in discussions with employees through both partner’s representative bodies on a wide range of issues.
At the beginning of the summit the ILO, represented by their Employer Activities Specialist, Maria Machailo-Molebatsi had expressed their eagerness to see employers and employees working closely to find each other especially on matters arising at factory-floor level.
The ILO congratulated TUCOSWA and Business Eswatini, the two apex representative organisations representing employees and employers respectively, for a resoundingly successful dialogue. In a statement released to this media house after the event, Ms. Machailo-Molebatsi said it was crucial for employers and employees to strengthen their partnership especially because they are bound by their mutual interest of ensuring healthy business and decent jobs. Other issues including the recent threat posed by the COVID pandemic, climate change and the evolving need for skills which are relevant to the new world of work also called for these stakeholders to engage more.
She said the ILO hoped that this was the first of many such engagements whose outcomes would be demonstrated by a lockstep relationship between employers and employees. She also highlighted that the ILO is in support of decent work for all and expressed concern that as they are pursuing that, unemployment is increasing and some developments such as technology are also threatening the very same jobs that they are trying to preserve and enrich. The onus is upon the social partners to push for policies which are cognizant of these developments.
She also stated that government, as the third social partner, would have to come to the table as the resultant joint statement suggested. Without the policy enabling organ, employers and employees would not reach their full potential because policy plays a major role in facilitating a fertile ground for the development of the economy. She pledged the support of the ILO where they can and expressed optimism that this journey will yield only the best for business in Eswatini.