Honorable Minister for Labour and Human Resource Development, Kiribati, speech at the 105th International Labour Conference, Geneva, Switzerland

Speech by Mr. Ruatek Tekaira, Honorable Minister for Labour and Human Resource Development , Kiribati

Statement | Geneva, Switzerland | 10 June 2016
Addressing the 105th ILC
Kam na mauri

Madam President, let me congratulate you on your new appointment as a President and as the Chairperson of the One Hundred and Fifth (105TH ) International Labour Conference. I also commend the Director General's report on ' The End of Poverty Initiative' and 2030 agenda which gives a direction for the international community towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals through Decent Work. Madam President, it has been 16 years now since Kiribati joined ILO and I am glad to mention that major reforms have taken place to advance the Kiribati agenda on decent work.

Last year Kiribati passed its first ever Occupational Safety and Health Act and the Employment and Industrial Relations Act with major reforms to domesticate principles of the ILO 8 fundamental conventions being ratified. The labour law reform is one major step forward in advancing social justice as an outcome of dynamic tripartite consultations and I congratulate our tripartite partners for driving this important achievement. I also commend the ILO Suva office for the technical support provided along the way. Now the crucial next step for Kiribati is to implement the two new Acts. For this purpose, my ministry is currently working wiht ILO Suva on further technical support required including the work on the establishment of Minimum Wage and strengthening the labour inspection. The amendments to the Maritime Labour Conference and Seafarers Identity Document to be adopted in this conference are the most relevant conventions being ratified by Kiribati since the remittance from seafarers is one of the major source of revenue of my country supporting social and economic development. I wish to see that ILO provides more support and technicak guidance in the implementation of these conventions.

Madam President, another major challenge that Kiribati faces is the high level of unemployment. The Kiribati people continued to enjoy the existing employment opportunities abroad and the benefits provided through our major employers; the German Ship Owners employing our trained seafarers and Japanese fishing vessels employing our trained fishers. Other employment opportunities were also secured through joint venture agreements with offshore fishing partners. Our existing labour mobility programs with New Zealand under the Recognized Seasonal Employers (RSE) and Australis under the Seasonal Worker Program (SWP) continue to support the lives of the Kiribati people. However more effort is needed to strenghten the current processes and to diversify employment opportunities to other sectors and countries abroad and in diversifying employment opportunities abroad. The Marine Training Centre and Kiribati Institute of Technology assists by designing training courses required for overseas labour market needs.

At the national level, the Kiribati Institute of Technology is also working with major employers and industries on demand - driven courses to constantly link the training outcomes with the skills in demand by local industries. My ministry with the technical assistance of the ILO has recently established its National Career Counselling and Employment Centre to enhance job - searching abroad and also adopt a new labour migration policy that provide strategies for overseas employment and protection of the I-Kiribati migrant workers. Kiribati with the support of its development partners has taken strategic steps to facilitate labour mobility by strengthening the training Institutes under my portfolio for international recognition. Our first class Marine Training Centre under the Germanischer Lloyd, IMO accreditation and white list status continues to provide quality training to our seafarers.

Our Kiribati Institute of Technology(KIT) delivering Australian Qualification through the auspice with TAFE South Australia under the Technical Vocational Education Training Strengtdhening Sector Program (TVETSSP ) is progressing well and has successfully absorbed the Kiribati School of Nursing (KSON ) to enable our nurses graduated with Australian qualification. I wish to thank our development partners New Zealand and Australia for their continuous support to these training institutes.

Madam President, with the support of ILO, I am confident to say that much has been achieved and that Kiribati will be able to progress its on - going agenda on Decent Work. The Government of Kiribati through my ministry is looking forward to work further with ILO on the remaining priorities including those discussed recently with ILO Suva office.

With these few remark, let me conclude by bestowing upon us all the Kiribati traditional blessings of Te Mauri, Te Raoi ao Te Tabomoa.

Thank You.