United NationsДепартамент по экономическим и социальным вопросам Sustainable Development

Major Groups: Workers & Trade

Presentation
by
the
International
Trade
Union
Confederation
(ITUC)
representative
Mr
Agni
Deo
Singh
at
plenary
of
the
3rd
UN
Small
Island
Developing
States
(SIDS)
Conference
on
Tuesday
2nd
September
2014.
Mr
President,
your
excellences,
delegates,
ladies
and
gentlemen.
My
name
is
Agni
Deo
Singh,
I’m
the
General
Secretary
of
the
Teachers’
Union
in
Fiji,
and
I’m
speaking
here
on
behalf
of
the
International
Trade
Union
Confederation
(ITUC)
I
maybe
the
last
speaker
for
the
day,
but
I
intend
to
add
a
new
dimension
to
this
debate.
Mr
President,
let
me
begin
by
thanking
and
congratulating
the
government
and
the
people
of
Samoa
for
being
wonderful
hosts
and
according
the
unique
pacific
hospitality
to
all
of
us,
and
also
for
the
excellent
preparation.
Let
me
also,
thank
the
United
Nations
(UN)
for
recognising
and
providing
ICTUC
the
opportunity
to
attend
and
to
address
this
august
body.
The
ITUC,
represents
176
million
workers
from
325
national
affiliates
in
161
countries.
Many
if
not
all
of
us
in
this
conference
would
have
benefited
from
better
terms
and
conditions
negotiated
by
our
unions
in
our
working
lives.
Apart
from
representing
the
organised
sector
the
trade
unions
represent
the
unorganised
through
participation
in
social
dialogue
and
influencing
improvement
in
national
labour
legislations.
A
large
number
of
these
workers
are
also
identified
as
maganisalised
such
as
women
and
youth.
Minimum
wage,
minimum
working
age,
safety
and
health
and
alike
are
some
of
the
benefits
that
the
unorganised
workers
receive
through
the
intervention
of
the
trade
unions.
Mr
Presidet,
the
SIDS
conference
has
identified
critical
topics
for
the
future
of
workers
in
small
islands
developing
states.
If
the
realities
in
our
countries
can
be
very
different,
we
all
face
dramatic
consequences
of
the
impacts
of
climate
change,
we
all
need
to
address
the
challenge
of
growing
decent
jobs
and
succeeding
our
transition
to
sustainability,
including
through
the
better
protection
of
our
marine
environment.
The
decent
work
deficit
in
our
countries
is
daunting.
As
the
International
Labour
Organisation
(ILO)
indicates
in
its
report
for
this
conference,
the
Pacific
region
suffers
from
significant
unemployment
and
under-­‐employment,
particularly
amongst
the
youth,
who
form
a
significant
part
of
the
population.
Unemployment
in
the
Pacific
is
estimated
at
23%
and
in
some
countries,
more
than
half
of
young
people
looking
for
a
job
are
unable
to
find
one.
To
this
already
difficult
situation,
we
deplore
the
aggravation
of
climate
change
and
the
bleak
prospects
it
puts
on
our
communities.
What
can
we
do?
Mr
President,
The
trade
union
movement
considers
it
fundamental
to
re-­‐orient
public
action
to
secure
the
protection
of
all
citizens
through
strengthened
social
protection
system,
pro-­‐active
employment
creation
programmes,
all
underpinned
by
the
four
pillars
of
the
decent
work
agenda.
This
would
have
a
positive
impact
in
reactivating
local
income
and
domestic
demand,
and
therefore
making
us
less
dependent
on
foreign
flows
such
as
tourism,
which
is
facing
difficulties
due
to
the
economic
crisis.
Improving
working
conditions
for
those
who
have
a
job
so
that
they
can
fully
participate
in
the
economy
of
their
countries
is
also
critical.
Finally,
we
are
promoting,
in
solidarity
with
all
the
international
labour
movement,
the
need
for
securing
a
fair
and
ambitious
climate
deal
in
Paris
in
2015,
which
will
give
our
countries
a
chance
to
develop.
Mr
President,
Allow
me
to
share
with
you
a
final
thought.
Our
sustainable
development
does
not
only
depend
on
social
progress,
economic
prosperity
and
environmental
protection.
It
also
depends
on
our
governments
capacities
to
realise
human
and
labour
rights
and
democracy.
Only
if
citizens
are
fully
able
to
decide
about
their
future,
only
if
workers
are
able
to
protect
their
rights
and
improve
their
working
conditions
we
will
be
able
to
build
the
prosperous
and
sustainable
societies
we
all
deserve
in
small
island
states.
We,
as
trade
unions,
are
looking
forward
for
a
fruitful
negotiation
here
in
Samoa
and
stand
ready
to
support
you
in
this
endeavour.
Thank
you.
End