Stakeholders participate in validation workshop on determining drivers of informality research
The Employment Department in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO) organized a validation workshop on Tuesday 28th November 2023 at the Coral Strand Hotel conference room, to discuss the findings and recommendations of the research on ‘determining drivers of informality and legislative framework for formalization of the informal economy in Seychelles.’
The aims of the research were to analyse the barriers to formalization of informal businesses and informal employment and also assess the factors leading the informal economy. The research was conducted by an international Consultant Mr Stephane Reuse following consultations made with national stakeholders in March of this year and it is also supporting objectives of the National Employment Policy, the Employment Department’s Strategic plan and the Seychelles Decent Work Country Programme (2019- 2023).
Informal employment is one of the key challenges of the labour market alongside youth unemployment. The Quarterly Labour Force Survey published by the National Bureau of Statistics show the annual informal employment rate of 16.9% in 2020 with males being predominately represented at 25.3% compared to females at 8.8%. Youths are equally affected with an annual informal employment of 19.5%, males being 27.8% and females 11.7%.
Participants of the workshop proposed an action plan of priority interventions in the next coming years that Seychelles could implement to address informality under the four main branches affecting informality; Regulation, Production, Representation and Social Welfare and employment conditions.
20 participants were in attendance representing various institutions; Ministry of Employment and Social Affairs, National Bureau of Statistics, Ministry of Education, Seychelles Pension Fund, Seychelles Revenue Commission, Seychelles Licensing Authority, Entrepreneurship Department, Agriculture Department, Fisheries Department, Trade Department, Tourism Department, United workers Seychelles, and General Employers Trade Union of Seychelles.
Labour Market Information System for Seychelles
Data Preparation workshop
A one-week workshop is underway to complete the capacity building activities for the implementation of the Labour Market Information System (LMIS) for Seychelles - a system to enhance labour market efficiency by providing actors with relevant and timely information for decision-making.
It provides an essential basis for employment and labour policies, including the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies that are better focused and targeted, while at the same time consolidating labour market data collected from different providers in the public and private sectors.
The project being developed in phases, is spearheaded by the Employment Department in collaboration with the National Bureau of Statistics, the Department of Information and Communication Technology and the International Labour Organisation.
It is being facilitated by Mr Edgardo Greising – the Head of Unit of Knowledge Management Solutions, department of statistics of the International Labour Organisation.
A master plan has been built with the definition of the indicators that will be part of the first dissemination phase of the LMIS, whose conceptual framework will be the Decent Work Indicators framework, complemented with other indicators compiled from different available data sources.
After the SDMX and Data modelling workshop held in November 2022, the Team working on the project prepared the structural metadata according to the Master Plan. During the 5-day workshop, the data model is being assessed and data managers are being trained in the process of data preparation and upload.
19 participants, including statisticians, IT producers and LMIS IT Specialists from different local institutions are attending the sessions at Coral Strand Hotel which ends on Friday 24th November.
They are from the Ministry of Employment and Social Affairs, National Bureau of Statistics, Department of Information Communications Technology, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Seychelles Pension Fund, Seychelles Revenue Commission, Central Bank of Seychelles, Immigration Department, Seychelles Licensing Authority, Entrepreneurship Department, Registrar Division, and Economic Planning Department.
Sweden - Seychelles Partnership
The Honorary Consul for Sweden, Lennart Swenson accompanied by Kathrin Alexandra from the UMEA University of Sweden called on Minister Patricia Francourt for a brief meeting on Monday 13th November 2023.
Ms Alexandra briefed Minister Francourt on the health setting of Sweden, notably the UMEA University, that provides a range of training in health services. Sweden and Seychelles signed an MOU in 2004 and since then, there has been various exchange projects.
A short video presentation on the collaboration with Seychelles was shared showcasing a project between La Digue School and Sweden and an exchange visit of health professionals along with members of the Seychelles Alzheimer’s Foundation to have firsthand experience on the programme for Alzheimer care.
The UMEA University wishes to extend the partnership to share their expertise in social care, training of care givers and also establish the proper model for screening and early detection of people with signs of Alzheimer so that they can get the appropriate care.
Minister Francourt thanked Honorary Consul Swenson and Ms Alexandra for the insight on the on-going corporation and emphasized that the focus on early identification of telltale signs of people suffering from Alzheimer and dementia is crucial to determine the level and quality of care those people should be getting.
The discussion has come at an opportune time when the Seychelles Home Care Agency is preparing to develop a training programme of care givers. The Agency stands to benefit from the expertise of UMEA University.
The Principal Secretary for Social Affairs Department Linda William-Melanie and CEO Daniel Kallee of the Seychelles Home Care Agency were also in attendance.
FIFTH SESSION OF THE COMMITTEE ON SOCIAL POLICY, POVERTY AND GENDER
ECONOMIC COMMISSION FOR AFRICA (ECA)
The Committee on Social Policy, Poverty and Gender of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) held its fifth session in Addis Ababa on 2nd and 3rd November 2023 under the theme “Building new social contracts: choices to fulfil development aspirations”.
The Committee meets biennially at the ECA’s headquarters and is led by the Bureau that is elected for the duration of two years until the next meeting.
During that meeting, the Committee considered reports on projects under three sub-programmes that have been undertaken in various member states during the year 2022-2023 with the support of the Gender, Poverty and social Policy Division of the Economic Commission for Africa and to elect the new bureau for the next two-year tenure.
The sub-programmes are:
- Poverty, inequality and social policy
- Gender equality and women’s empowerment
- Digital technical and vocational education and training: enhancing the skills of women and girls across Africa
Participating member states from the five regions; northern, eastern, western, central and southern Africa are invited to nominate a member state from each region to participate in the election process.
Ghana was elected as Chair of the Bureau. Djibouti and Cameroon were elected first and second vice-chair respectively, whilst South Africa and Tunisia were elected as first and second rapporteur.
The general discussion of the fifth session was to ensure that all African countries are moving together to attain the sustainable development goals (SDGs) by 2033 and the goals of Agenda 2063 with the support of the Economic Commission for Africa and other multilateral partners to assist countries requesting for assistance with specific programmes.
After the two-day meeting, member states approved the resolution and recommendations of the Fifth Session of the Committee on Social Policy, Poverty and Gender.
Principal Secretary Linda William-Melanie represented the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Family at the meeting.
Note: Seychelles benefitted from a training sponsored by ECA for women entrepreneur in digital technology from 12th – 15th September 2023 under sub-programme No.3, Digital technical and vocational education and training: enhancing the skills of women and girls across Africa
Members of the Occupational Health and Safety meet with
Minister Patricia Francourt
The members of the Occupational Health and Safety Board met with the Minister for Employment and Social Affairs, Patricia Francourt on 14th September 2023, to officially present to her a copy of the strategic plan developed with the aim to present the strategic priorities for the Occupational Safety Board for the next five years and highlight the key actions.
In the meeting the chairperson of the board Dr Vanessa Lesperance made a presentation on the newly developed Strategic Plan and officially presented to Minister Francourt the work of the board since inception, and their primary concerns relating to employee well-being and health and safety within the workplace.
Facilitating a presentation, Dr Lesperance detailed the board’s vision and mission. She highlighted the Occupational Safety Board’s role followed by the key actions and strategic priorities for the next five years. To end the presentation, the Chairperson presented the board’s aspiration to witness the creation of an independent Health and Safety Authority to oversee all health and safety related matters in Seychelles.
Board members highlighted that there is a significant gap on the domestic labour market for trained and qualified health and safety personnel, and that the majority of the time, both employers and employees are not aware of the legal requirements, nor their rights. It was also recommended that government institutions should also adopt the current legal obligations to employ Health and Safety Officers. In addition, further recommendations were made to the Minister for legal instruments to be used to require that all organisations irrespective of their number of workers, to employ a Health and Safety Officer or enlist the services of a Health and Safety service provider. The recommendation called for the Health and Safety Officer employed within the organisation to be directly accountable to the Accounting officer of the organisation.
The board members conveyed to the minister their concerns with regards to the Occupational Safety & Health Decree, which needs to be modernised at the soonest. Presently as is, the decree is not up to par with international standards, and permits certain activities which are now considered not safe.
The board comprises of nine members ‒ representatives from government, private sector, employees and employers. Members are presently meeting every couple of months, and are actively pushing for the promotion of safe workplaces, good work practices among employers and employees, and promoting a culture of safety among the general population.
Safety Officer’s Forum
The Employment Department in collaboration with the Occupational Safety Board organised its second Safety Officer’s Forum on Friday 28th July 2023 at the Olympic House which was attended by Safety Officers/ Representatives from government, parastatal and private work organisations. This was another opportunity to share experiences and best practices.
During the half-day forum, presentations were delivered by personnel from work organisations and officers of the Employment Department on occupational health and safety practices, specifically;
- Accident reporting and Accident Investigation
- Safety and Health practices at Seychelles breweries
- Occupational Psychology and mental wellbeing
- Overview of Health and Safety Management at PUC
To note, topic son the agenda are set by the members of the forum themselves. t was the Safety Officers/ Representatives who proposed, during the last forum held in March 2023, that their peers share how occupational health and safety is being implemented in their work organisations.
Following the presentations, the Safety officers/ Representatives had plenary discussions whereby several concerns were clarified in relation to the topics and further point of reflection was brought forth including;
- the review of the Occupational Safety and Health Decree;
- safety culture in Seychelles;
- the place of Safety Officers/ Representative in work organisations;
- workplace inspections.
The next forum is planned for the last quarter of 2023.
Tripartite Sensitization Workshop on Social Dialogue conducted for Members of the National Consultative Committee on Employment
The Ministry of Employment and Social Affairs in collaboration with the International Labour Organization organised a Tripartite Sensitization Workshop on Social Dialogue for Members of the National Consultative Committee on Employment (NCCE) of Seychelles on 22nd and 23rd August, 2023. The workshop was conducted by Mr. Limpho Mandoro, Social Dialogue and Labour Administration Specialist of the ILO Decent Work Team, based in Pretoria, South Africa.
Social dialogue, based on respect for freedom of association and the right to effective collective bargaining, has a crucial role in designing national policies that promote social justice, social and economic progress, improved wages and working conditions, sustainable enterprises, stakeholder participation and inclusion.
The workshop was officially opened by Minister Patricia Francourt, was attended by the members of the NCCE, and the other registered trade unions of workers and of employers in view of the contribution they have to make in strengthening social dialogue in the country.
During the workshop, the ILO Specialist - Mr Mandoro briefly introduced the participants to the ILO and the decent work agenda, then sensitised them on principles of social dialogue, its benefits and requisite conditions for its effectiveness.
After a scene-setting presentation on national legislation and policy on social dialogue, the Seychelles Federation of Workers’ Union (SFWU) and the General Employers Trade Union of Seychelles (GETUS), respectively the most representative workers’ organisation and the most representative employers' organisation, presented their perspective on the current and emerging challenges facing social dialogue in the Seychelles and the way forward, which led to a general discussion.
On the second day, Mr Mandoro presented the international standards that support social dialogue, and comparative models / typologies of social dialogue institutions and practices.
This was followed by a discussion on impediments to effective social dialogue in the Seychelles to agree on remedial action, assess the implementation of previous programmes in the area of social dialogue, and discuss future capacity building on social dialogue to the tripartite partners (per constituency or collectively) and support to the NCCE as an institution.
The National Consultative Committee on Employment (NCCE) is a committee appointed by the Minister, in consultation with the organisation of workers and employers, to advise the Minister on matters relating to industrial relations and any specific matter referred to the Committee by the Minister.
Ministry of Employment and Social Affairs
Minister Patricia Francourt attends the 111th session of International Labour Conference, Geneva, Switzerland
The Minister for Employment and Social Affairs Mrs Patricia Francourt is heading a tripartite delegation from Seychelles at the 111th session of the International Labour Conference, which is being held in Geneva, Switzerland from 5th to 16th June 2023.
Minister Francourt delivered her address to the plenary session of the Conference on Monday 12th June, and conveyed support to the Director General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Mr Gilbert Houngbo on his vision of promoting social justice and decent work and the introduction of a Global coalition on social justice.
Minister Francourt emphasized that social justice addresses the aspirations of citizens and workers. “Social justice renews the ILO’s centenary human-centred approach and it reaffirms our role as tripartite constituents to bring progress to our people and to uphold the constitutional obligations as member states of the ILO. When striving for social justice, we should also aim for inclusiveness and resilient societies, so that we leave no one behind.,” said Minister Francourt.
The Minister also highlighted that the world of work is going through structural transformations and vulnerable groups of society are most affected, notably young people who choose a job in a different training field due to delayed employment, informal workers with limited labour protection and young single mothers who face challenges to balance their work and family responsibilities. When addressing strategies to overcome these challenges, Minister Francourt indicated that, “we have a role to play to equip our labour force with the skills in demand and to provide correct labour market information and equal access to opportunities, to allow them to adapt and grow in the world of work. This is the social justice that we seek!”
Minister Francourt pledged Seychelles’ commitment towards the Global coalition for social justice and explained that various inclusive policies and programmes have been developed nationally to contribute in maintaining an unemployment rate below 5 per cent for the year 2022, although the rate remains high for young people. The Minister further reaffirmed that “social justice should have no borders and all workers’ rights must be respected,” and in this regard the Ministry launched the “Work in Seychelles” induction programme earlier this year to raise awareness on rights and responsibilities of migrant workers following their arrival in the country.
Minister Francourt also held a side-line meeting with the Minister for Public Service, Labour and Employment of the Kingdom of Lesotho, Mr Richard Ramoeletsi, to discuss possible labour exchange between the two countries. Minister Francourt explained the jobs in demand in Seychelles and the limited available labour supply, whereas Minister Ramoeletsi stated education, health and tourism as main areas for labour migration from Lesotho. An official visit by the delegation from the Kingdom of Lesotho is planned for next year to further discuss a bilateral labour agreement.
Furthermore, Minister Francourt attended the World of Work Summit which was held from 14th to 15th June where the UN Secretary General, Mr Antonio Guterres and other Heads of States addressed the Summit. During the Conference, the Minister also met with the distinguished ILO Regional Director for Africa, Mrs Cynthia Samuel-Olunjuwon and other Ministers namely the Minister for Tanzania.
The ILO being a unique agency of the United Nations where government, employers and workers have the same voice, the Secretary General of the Seychelles Federation of Workers’ Union, Mr Antoine Robinson, also addressed the Conference. Mr Robinson underlined the importance of social justice, challenges being faced by workers in the world of work today and the revamped National Consultative Committee on Employment in Seychelles where social dialogue discussions are held.
The other members of the Seychelles delegation attending the ILO Conference are the Principal Secretary for Employment, Ms Veronique Bresson; Chief Policy Analyst, Ms Susan Morel; Personal Assistant to the Minister, Mrs Gislaine Hoareau; Chairman of the General Employers Trade Union of Seychelles, Mr Donald Monnaie and Vice-Chairman of the General Employers Trade Union of Seychelles, Mr Kevin Barbe and; Secretary General of the Seychelles Federation of Workers’ Union, Mr Antoine Robinson.
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