Somalia needs a new social contract for recovery and resilience, says organised labour in commemorating World Day for Decent Work

The Federation of Somali Trade Unions (FESTU) yesterday joined the trade union movement around the world to celebrate World Day for Decent Work on October 7 by organising a commemorative seminar on the theme: “making decent working conditions and inclusive development a reality for all.”

The event brought together union leaders and activists, Mr. Alexio Musindo, Director of the ILO Horn of Africa countries, Mr. Mban Kabu, Regional Specialist for Workers’ Education, ILO-ACTRAV, and Mr. Gulielmo Giordano, Head of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) – the Italian development arm that has no doubt contributed immensely to the post-war reconstruction of Somalia’s labour movement.

The struggle to achieve decent work for all is not an event but an on-going process, and October 7 is the day set aside for workers to simultaneously reflect on the burning issues affecting workers, in particular ubiquitous decent deficits plaguing the labour market, which has worsened under the ravages of a terrible coronavirus pandemic.

The central focus of FESTU and its affiliates to commemorate World Day for Decent Work in Somalia this year is on poor working conditions, loss of jobs, wages, income and general livelihoods by the majority exacerbated by the combined effects of multifaceted crises, namely the Covid-19 pandemic, climate disasters and the locust plague.

FESTU leaders expressed serious frustration at the unimaginable number of Somali workers who suffer from precarious and unpredictable working conditions, adding that only a few workers can claim to have decent jobs, and even so a good number of them have either suffered lay-offs or experienced significant wage cuts.

The Federation renewed its advocacy for a new social contract for Somalia’s recovery and resilience by calling on the Somali authorities, the private sector, other stakeholders and the international community to redouble their efforts to decisively deal with the multifaceted crises that have ravaged Somalia through sustainable investments for a just transition green economic recovery that guarantees social protection for all, a living wage, a safe and healthy working environment, respect for rights at work and a culture of social dialogue for labour market governance.

Finally, FESTU called on the ILO tripartite constituents of Somalia to, as a matter of utmost urgency convene to discuss and align the Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) with both the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) and National Development Plan (NDP-9).

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