International Labour Organisation postpones conference over Covid-19

2020-04-07 01:42:00 AM

The ILO will use the time to advise member states on measures to migitate Covid-19’s impact on workers, says labour minister Thulas Nxesi

LUYOLO MKENTANEPresident Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the official launch of the Global Commission on the Future of Work at the ILO in Geneva, Switzerland in January 2019. Picture: ELMOND JIYANE / GCISThe International Labour Organisation (ILO), a UN agency that sets global labour standards, has become the latest institution to cancel a conference due to Covid-19.

Lockdown level 3: Methodist Church to remain closed Cele: Proof of cigarette purchases required Schools not ready for reopening on Monday

With ILO, this will be the first time it cancelled a conference in its 101 years of existence. The decision was taken on Friday as the number of people infected by the coronavirus globally surged to over 1.1-million and resulted in about 64,000 deaths worldwide.

On Friday, in an e-mail to ILO governing body members, the secretariat stated that 87 members had voted in favour of a recommendation to defer the 109th session of the ILO conference until June 2021. The conference was scheduled to take place in Geneva, Switzerland, from May 25 to June 5.

On Sunday, Mthunzi Mdwaba, International Organisation of Employers (IOE) vice-president to the ILO, told Business Day that the decision to cancel the ILC was taken by “the director-general Guy Ryder, in consultation with Catelene Passchier, the worker leader and vice-chair of the governing body; myself (Mdwaba) as employer leader and vice-chair of the governing body, and current governing body chair Refiloe Litjobo, the ambassador of Lesotho to Geneva”.

The decision was then sent to the governing body members “to endorse via vote”.He said to cancel the ILC four weeks ago would have cost 273,000 Swiss Francs (R5.3m), cancelling the ILC after consultations cost 475,000 Swiss Francs, while cancelling within 30 days of the ILC would have cost 3,900,000 Swiss Francs in cancellation fees.

Mdwaba said it was clear that they would have to cancel eventually.Employment & labour minister Thulas Nxesi commended the ILO for taking a “very responsible stance” in cancelling the conference, which brings together about 6,000 delegates from various countries around the globe.

“It would thus have been impossible to control the social distancing situation but also with the travel bans, [it would have been impossible] to even travel there,” said Nxesi. He said the ILO is using the time to advise member states on measures to migitate Covid-19’s impact to support workers in the public and private sectors and the informal economy.

SpaceX rocket lifts off on historic private crewed flight Nxesi: UIF has paid over R15bn to more than 3 million people Public Protector, EFF lose Gordhan appeal in Constitutional Court

Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said: “In the circumstances we are in, there is no alternative but to support [the call] that all meetings that have the potential of spreading Covid-19 should be avoided.”Ntshalintshali, who sits in the ILO’s subcommittees, said the conference is one of the forums where “thousands of people attend” and “we support the cancellation or postponement”.

National Council of Trade Unions (Nactu) president Pat Mphela said: “I agree with the recommendation to cancel based on the fact that the world is still dealing with the pandemic. Even if we were to find a cure today we would still have to adjust to the after effects and impact thereof.”

Federation of Unions of SA (Fedusa) acting general secretary Riefdah Ajam said the recommendation to postpone the ILC “remains a difficult, but necessary and responsible pronouncement” that they supported.“This decision will certainly ensure the containment and spread prevention of the virus, considering the European epicentres that are within close proximity to Switzerland,” said Ajam.

“With a global convergence of business, labour and government leaders, an alternate recommendation may well be a catastrophe in waiting.”In June 2019, the department of employment & labour & employment spent R3.2m to send a 62-member delegation to the ILO conference in Geneva.

The delegation, led by President Cyril Ramaphosa, was considered the largest delegation from any country and included officials from the department and other stakeholders, such as trade unions and the business fraternity.Ramaphosa was appointed in 2018 as the co-chair of the ILO’s Global Commission on the Future of Work alongside Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven.

Read more: Business Day »

COVID-19 LIVE UPDATES | 'Covid-19 has proven African countries can hold their own': RamaphosaTwo patients in their 80s have died, bringing the death toll from Covid-19 to 11 in South Africa, health minister Zweli Mkhize said on Sunday night. Both patients had underlying medical conditions. Don't speak too soon. Too early to say Mr. President.

Governor Cuomo sees signs of Covid-19 pandemic 'flattening' in New YorkNew York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday cited tentative signs the coronavirus outbreak was 'flattening' in his state.

Covid-19: Household screenings begin as experts warn about false picture of crisisBrace yourselves, SA. Halfway through a 21-day lockdown, the country is fixated on daily new infection levels as it prepares for a possible Covid-19 spike that many fear could overwhelm the country's health services. Not in my home, when i have flue, ill steam and be fine, flue has always been here I'm not allow these ppl to my home how would I guarantee that are really from the health department? Coz they're alot of cases we are hearing of criminals using this to enter ppl's homes to do crime

Provinces brace for 'thinning' of settlements in Covid-19 fightSeveral provinces have begun identifying densely populated areas for the relocation of tens of thousands of residents from their homes in a bid to slow the spread of Covid-19. You must TRUST The Lord! Yul Never be in FEAR! 1950's policy. Give them land!

Clashes between cops and shops over Covid-19 lockdownAs the Covid-19 crisis deepens, some lockdown offenders are fighting back against authorities who have clamped down on them for allegedly flouting regulations of the Disaster Management Act. The numbers don’t justify the allegations of a deepening crisis no wonder the press is going insolvent DeanMacpherson you are part of the problem with your gaslighting.... you are responsible in part for the clashes. Do your job and save lives... Mara vele what's the difference between ShopRite and khumalo supermarket or dischem and traditional herbalist store.🤔

TB vaccine might prove to be SA’s ‘lucky weapon’ against Covid-19Researchers globally are looking into whether getting the BCG vaccine may confer heightened resistance against both contracting and/or suffering the worst effects of the coronavirus. if its being discovered by south Africans that is fine That would be wonderful news for SA if true (hopefully) Dont tell Bill! vaccine