The International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Senior Workers’ Specialist responsible for the SADC Region, based in South African’s Pretoria office, David Darkenoo and his delegation are in the country visiting various partners and stakeholders. In their agenda includes courtesy visit to the Institute for Labour and Employment Studies (ILES) on Thursday 22 September 2022.
The delegation met with some of the board members of ILES, BOPEU representative and the management and staff of ILES where the institute’s CEO Shandukani Hlabano welcomed them. The visit follows a successful inaugural labour conference in which the ILES hosted in July 2022. At the conference, the ILO’s Mandoro Limpho gave a resounding presentation that aligns with the ILES’ programming and eminence, cementing a mutual relationship between the two entities.
When welcoming the ILO delegation to ILES, the CEO Shandukani Hlabano said, “Our vision is captured in our recently developed 3-year strategy. We envision ILES to be a school of excellence on all labour and employment matters. We believe that in the short to medium term, ILES will be the centre of excellence for labour and employment. We hope to create an information hub for labour matters”.
Recently, the ILES received a Case Management Portal from the Botswana Federation of Trade Unions (BFTU). The portal was developed through the support of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), one of the development partners that continue to support ILES. The portal will enable the institute to compile all decisions of the courts on labour matters. The portal would be used by researchers, students, attorneys and members of the public.
Hlabano further said, “ILES does not only participate in training but also play a critical role in research on various public policy. It is also important to mention that we are a registered service provider of the ILO. We recognition and appreciate the support that the ILO continues to extend to ILES.
We have recently launched two long term courses namely Certificate in Paralegal Studies and a Diploma in Labour Law.”.
When receiving a consignment of books, consisting of 47 different titles and 223 books in total, the CEO said the donation has caught the immediate attention of his academic staff, and anticipate that the consignment will go a long way in aiding ILES to publish its own works in Labour Law and Labour economics.
On his remarks, Darkenoo highlighted that it’s his second visit to the college and extended his gratitude for the recent labour conference which one of the ILO representative Limpho Mandoro termed it as a success. Darkenoo told the dignitaries that ILO as one of the United Nations agencies with competencies in International Labour Standards and Employment issues globally, its association with ILES is of paramount importance looking at the two entities’ profiles.
“The Department in the ILO which I head is known as Bureau for Workers Activities (ACTRAV) and its mandated to serve as the main link between the International Labour Office and the world of work through one of its constituents: trade unions or workers’ organizations. It ensures that the concerns and interests of workers’ organizations are taken into consideration in the policy development and activities of the ILO. Therefore, ACTRAV support to workers organisations to improve capacity to present social, economic or environmental policy proposals including in the context of labour law reforms. Promotion of gender equality and non- Discrimination; Human and trade union rights issues; Policy interventions by workers’ organisations to ensure effective application of international labour standards ratified by their governments”.
Darkenoo further said, the strategic goals of ILES include to promote workers skills and competencies through education and training in all areas of need during their working life;, Develop labour and employment training cadre that will become long term training resource in various fields including financial management and leadership and Through research and information management equip workers and other stakeholders to effectively participate in social dialogue and negotiation with employers and other social partners at national and international levels.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has added a new sense of urgency to the challenges facing workers’ organizations and labour services organisations like ILES to respond to transformations in the world of work driven by globalization, demographic, environmental and technological changes, as well as to play a crucial role in crisis mitigation, response and recovery. In order to contribute to building stronger, more sustainable and equal economies and societies, workers’ organizations must continue to exercise leadership, demonstrate relevance and provide quality services to their current and new members. They need to bolster their capacity to analyse and understand the new realities in the world of work, shape and influence economic, social and sustainable development policies, strengthen their own institutional and organizational processes, and adopt innovative strategies, especially in the new context brought about by the crisis.”
Among the books donated covers subjects such as International Labour Standards, Collective Bargaining, Minimum wage policy issues, Labour Migration, Employment issues, Gender Equality issues and Youth employment challenges. The addition to the institute library will contribute tremendously to the education and training programmes for the workers and other stakeholders in Botswana.
Darrkenoo also told the ILES management that they have to collaborate with other international labour networks such as the Africa Labour Education and Research Network established by ITUC-Africa. Within the SADC region it has LEDRIZ in Zimbabwe, NALADI of South Africa, LaRRI of Namibia, Labour Policy Institute of Ghana, ZILARD of Zambia among others. The meeting of these labour education and research institutes will create the necessary opportunity for ILES to network and learn from the experiences of other countries.