Fourth Sitting

Tuesday, 7 June 2005
President: Mr. Chiriboga

Mr. BOXALL (Secretary, Department of Employment and Workplace Relations, Australia)

Australia congratulates the ILO for work under- taken in relation to the drafting of the new consolidated maritime and fishing Conventions, which will replace the majority of maritime and fishing Conventions adopted since 1920. These new Conventions are important examples of the work which the ILO must undertake in order to reformulate out- dated instruments and produce new ones that ex- press contemporary standards of relevance to all countries. Comprehensive standard-setting reform of this nature must remain firmly on the ILO agenda. It is core ILO business.

Mr. SANJEEVA REDDY (Worker, India)

The Director-General this year has drawn our attention to certain issues of vital importance such as occupational safety and health, promotion of youth employment and the work of the fishing sector. I fully endorse the Director-General's Report.

Mr. FERREIRA DO PRADO (Worker, Brazil)

In conclusion, we wish to express our satisfaction at the imminent adoption of two new Conventions, on safety and health at work and the fishing sector, because reducing occupational accidents in Brazil and effectively exploiting its extensive coastline for fishing are matters of great importance for us, the workers.

Mr. GAWANAS (Commissioner for Social Affairs, African Union)

Many of our countries have highly developed fishing industries in Africa. There is an item on the agenda of this session which relates to work in the fishing sector. This is one of the key items of interest to the African group in view of the fact that a considerable proportion of the African labour force is employed in the fishing sector. It is therefore important to have an international instrument to protect these workers from all the occupational hazards to which they are exposed.

Mgr. TOMASI (Apostolic Nuncio, The Holy See)

An important sign of the continued dynamism of the ILO is the commitment to focus on forced labour as well on all segments of the world of work that are the most marginalized. The workers of the sea have not been forgotten. For fishers, a much needed instrument that holds the potential for improving the life of 90 per cent of these most forgot- ten people is the proposed Convention that will hopefully be approved and opened for ratification at this Session of the Conference. Fishing is a complex and also dangerous profession with many occupational accidents, deaths and injuries. The proposed Convention concerning work in the fishing sector and its proposed Recommendation would make all kinds of professional fishing safer and create a decent workplace.

Ms. FLUMIAN (Under-Secretary of Labour, Canada)

This year’s agenda includes timely and important global issues - youth employment, occupational safety and health, and conditions of work in the fishing sector. It is my hope that all delegations will work together to ensure that the discussions result in globally endorsed outcomes that will have positive impacts for workers and their families.

Mr. SENEVIRATNE (Minister of Labour Relations and Foreign Employment, Sri Lanka)

We thank the ILO for its rapid mobilization in Sri Lanka for the initial assistance in assessing the livelihood and labour market situation in the Tsunami- affected areas. The ILO, with the support of the Ministry, was able to prepare a rapid income recovery programme which was included in the main government programme for rebuilding Sri Lanka. The United Nations Resident Coordinator for Sri Lanka pointed out at the OCHA briefing in Geneva recently that the most important need in the medium term was livelihood assistance for fishermen.

Mr. GRYSHCHENKO (Employer, Ukraine)

I should like to turn my attention to a few specific points. Under item 4 of the agenda, the development of a new instrument establishing a promotional framework for occupational safety and health, we believe there should be a declaration. There are currently 39 special Conventions and Recommendations on occupational safety and health in force, but they have been ratified by only a small number of ILO member States. For that reason there is no need to adopt yet another Convention and expect such a Convention to be actively ratified. Given that at the current session it is proposed that we conclude work on a draft Convention and Recommendation on working conditions in the fishing sector, I should like to note that certain provisions of these drafts are excessively detailed and contain conditions which are too strict, to the point that their adoption would provide an obstacle to their active ratification.

For full Statement: Click here

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