By Funmi Komolafe
The Director-General of the International Labour Organisation, ILO ,  Mr. Juan Somavia,  has  called on nations of the world to reactivate the real economy  and create jobs as a way of emerging from the current global recession.

Somavia in a message to the 99th session  of the International Labour Conference said,  “ the only sustainable way out of the crisis is by reactivating  the real economy and creating employment.  There is no other way.  Despite the multiple uncertainties we face, we cannot lose this focus”.

The DG under whose leadership the Decent  Work Agenda was initiated said, “ The  world facces  not only a fiscal deficit, but also a huge deficit  of decent work”.

He said, “ Unemployment remains very high and the informal economy is widening.  The most vulnerable sectors and the middle classes in many countries are highly insecure.   Progress in equality between men and women is at risk if employment opportunities  for women deteriorate and young people everywhere  are wondering where they can find a job”.

Somavia called  on nations to promote “ productive investment, sustainable enterprises, decent work, fair wages and rising consumption and fiscal income, which lead to growth”.

He said in the next few weeks, the G20 will meet in Toronto and he hopes that “ they will build on the decisions  taken at the summit of Pittsburgh under the leadership of President Obaama, when they place  quality jobs at the heart of  recovery”.  The ILO DG spoke  just before leaders from the real economy- government, labour, emplozers and civil society- prepare to address the impact of the current economic and jobs crises  on employment policy and the Millennium Development Goals ( MDGs) during two high-level panels convened for the conference.

SSANU hails Jega’s appointment as INEC Chairman

SENIOR Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, has lauded President Goodluck Jonathan’s appointment of Professor Atahiru Jega, the Vice-Chancellor of Bayero University Kano, BUK, and former President of Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, as the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. SSANU said with the appointment of Professor Jega,  President Jonathan had proven that he  was genuinely interested in credible elections.

President of SSANU, Comrade Promise Adewusi, in a statement, believed that with Professor Jega as the INEC Chairman, election riggers were in for a hard time because Prof Jega  “is a man of impeccable character.”

According to him: “SSANU congratulates President Goodluck Jonathan on his choice of Attahiru Jega as INEC Chairman. This incontrovertibly proves that the President is genuinely interested in electoral reform as a catalyst towards a credible elections. Professor Jega, a detribalized and non partisan   Nigerian has been tested, trusted and found capable in all his endeavours.”

“As national President of the ASUU he led his union faithfully, winning for his members enhanced welfare packages even under near impossible circumstances.  As Vice Chancellor of Bayero University Kano, he has delivered his mandate entrenching academic excellence in the hitherto little known university.  He has practiced what he professed by making equity, fairness and transparent administration in BUK. With him we are certain election riggers are in for a hard time.”

ITUC raises alarm over violations of labour rights in Malawi

INTERNATIONAL Trade Union Confederation , ITUC, has expressed concerns over what it considers as serious and continued violations of fundamental workers’ rights in Malawi. In a new report by the ITUC on core labour standards in Malawi, published to coincide with the World Trade Organisation’s, WTO review of its trade policies, the report pointed “specifically at child labour, as there are 1.4 million working children in Malawi.  In other words, one out of every three children works. Forced labour is particularly serious on tobacco farms where tenant-labourers are exploited by systematic indebtedness and coerced into bonded labour by landlords. Sometimes the plantation slaves are forced to resort to the practice of “kupimbira”, selling their children in order to erase or reduce their debt.

The report finds that in addition to gender discrimination, disabled persons and persons who live with HIV/AIDS are discriminated against in terms of access to employment.

Furthermore, the government impedes the right to strike by imposing a complex and time-consuming procedure to declare a strike.  Many workers are afraid to join unions because of prevalent anti-union discrimination by employers: union leaders and members have frequently been targets for dismissals due to their union activities.

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