GOVERNMENT OF TONGA

MEDIA RELEASE

(10 June, 2016)

“Tonga attends its first International Labour Conference in Geneva, Switzerland, from 30th May to 10th June, 2016 after becoming the 187th member of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in February, 2016”

The Hon. Dr. Pohiva Tu‘i‘onetoa, Minister for Commerce and Labour led the first Tonga tripartite delegation to attend the “105th session of the International Labour Conference (ILC),” which was held in Geneva, Switzerland from 30th May to 10th June, 2016.

The International Labour Conference is the ILO’s highest decision-making body.  It meets annually in June bringing together tripartite delegations from the Organization’s 187 member States to set labour standards, settle disputes between parties and develop policies and  work programmes to promote decent work for all.  In this year’s session, the focus of the Conference were on; decent work in global supply chains, decent work for peace, security and disaster resilience, evaluation of the impact of the ILO Declaration on Social Justice for Fair Globalization, 2008, and amendments to the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006.  The World of Work Summit was also held during the Conference, on the 9th June focusing on Youth Unemployment, and this year’s theme was ‘Decent jobs for youth.’

Tonga’s tripartite delegation consists of the Hon. Dr. Pohiva Tu’i‘onetoa (Head of Delegation), Mr. Sione Sonata Tupou, Tonga’s Acting High Commissioner in London (2nd Government Delegate); Mr. John Paul Chapman, President of the Tonga Chambers of Commerce & Industries (Employers’ Delegate/ Private Sector); and Ms. Mele ‘Amanaki, Secretary-General of the Public Service Association (Workers’ Delegate/ Tonga PSA).

The Hon. Minister Tu‘i’onetoa delivered an official statement on behalf of the Government of Tonga at the Plenary Session on Monday, 06 June 2016.

“Prior to our membership, Tonga has benefitted from the ILO’s technical support on national initiatives to develop conducive institutional framework for employment and social protection in our country. From these engagements, Tonga’s insight into the world of work through the ILO’s unique lens of social, political and economic coalesce system has expanded with envisaged possibilities,” said the Hon. Minister Tu‘i‘onetoa in his Official Statement at the Plenary Session.

Hon. Minister Tu‘i‘onetoa added that, “by becoming a member of the ILO, Tonga reaffirms its commitment to promoting international labour standards, to the principle of decent work for all, equality in employment, social protection, and strengthening tripartite dialogue on work-related issues.”

During the margin of the Conference, the Hon. Minister Tu’i’onetoa held a bilateral meeting with the ILO Director-General, Mr. Guy Ryder at the Palais des Nations on Tuesday, 7th June 2016, to discuss requests for technical cooperation’s and support for Tonga’s tripartite structure.  This was followed by a meetings with the Assistant Director-General for Asia and the Pacific Regions, and also other ILO Specialists on Labour Standards, Employers and Workers Activities.

The Hon. Dr. Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa and the tripartite delegation attended the closing ceremony for the 105th session of the International Labour Conference on Friday, 10th June 2016 before departing for Tonga.

-ENDS-

Issued by the: Ministry of Commerce and Labour

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