The ILO and Productivity South Africa signed an MOU to forge a partnership to collaborate on Productivity and Employment Promotion in South Africa as pronounced in the new mandate of the Department of Employment and Labour and to advance the Productivity Movement across Africa.
ILO Pretoria Director, Dr Joni Musabayana emphasized the point that the signing of the MOU gives effect to the Abidjan Declaration which outlines the future of work priorities for the Africa region.
As the signing was taking place, the ILO Director indicated that one of the key pillars upon which the partnership rests between the ILO and Productivity SA was based would be support being provided to the Bargaining Council on Textile and Manufacturing; and to support the Pan African Productivity Association (PAPA) across the region. Countries that were seen as ready to engage were Kenya for whom issues on productivity are high on their agenda; and Eswatini that wants to establish a Productivity Centre.
The focus of support to countries like Namibia and Zimbabwe would be more on enhancing their institutional capacity for productivity.
The following are some of the key interventions identified during the signing as focus areas which the ILO-Productivity SA partnership would seek to support;
• The Presidential Job Summit resolution to build more inclusive and cooperative workplace engagements between workers and management – in solving workplace problems;
• The enhance capacity for deepening issues of Productivity within the Department of Labour within the context of its extended mandate to focus also on employment
• The integration of Productivity issues in the reconfiguration of the National Department of Employment and Labour given its extended mandate to coordinate government efforts on job and employment creation.
• Integration of productivity within the National Development Plan. For the past five years, the ND P has been without a focus on productivity.
• Strengthening the capacity of the RECs to promote productivity measures and or institution;
The ILO Director will explore the opportunity to include on the agenda of the meeting of the SADC Ministers of Labour – an agenda item on Productivity. The discussion item at the SADC Ministers’ meeting would look into the possibility of a SADC meeting on Productivity and the possible establishment of a SADC Productivity Centre.
Within the SADC focused interventions could look at the possible integration of Productivity in the newly drafted Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan of SADC; and to explore the possibility of including within the new SADC Protocols and the SADC Employment & Labour Policy a brief paragraphs or texts on Productivity.
And finally, the drafting of the new SADC Decent Work Programme could also include a focus on Productivity.
At the level of RECs in the rest of the region
• Director of ILO Pretoria will work with the Director for the Country Office in Abuja that has been working to resuscitate the functioning of ECOWAS to also elevate issues on productivity and development.
• Director of ILO Pretoria to also work with the Director of ILO Country Off that has been actively energizing the IGAD region to also promote and elevate issues of productivity
• A Ministerial meeting is scheduled to take place in the East African Community (EAC) soon, and a discussion will be held with the Director of the ILO Country Office for Dar es Salaam to explore placing Productivity on the agenda of the EAC meeting.
• At the level of the Africa Union Commission (AUC), the ILO could explore opportunities for integrating issues on Productivity within the AUC work plan.
• The ILO Regional Director has expressed interest in the idea of a productivity index and extending this continent-wide.
In concluding the following was noted;
• There is a need to set up a team to pick up on the aforementioned issues in order to develop a roadmap;
• During South Africa’s Chairship of the AUC, it might be strategic to plug these issues on the desk of President Ramaphosa, and to see how they feed into the African Peer Review Mechanism and the African Continental Free Trade agreement.
• The ILO and Productivity SA should meet take stock of progress made in implementing the agreement
• A first progress report could be prepared by October 2020 to consolidate issues relating to the Productivity Movement which could be presented and discussed at a National Summit or Conference.