Zambia Green Jobs and WCFCB partnership
September 08, 2015, Workers' Compensation Corner with MAYBIN NKHOLOMBA. Last week, we discussed extension of coverage to informal sector workers with particular reference to the partnership between the Workers' Compensation Fund Control Board (WCFCB) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The article did not bring out detail on the partnership which we feel obliged to disclose in today's article. Readers may wish to learn that we recognise the challenges that come with facilitating more broad -based wealth creation and job creation, and as such efforts being made to identify private sector development as a strategic means to boost employment, are welcome.
One such effort is the green jobs programme under ILO. We strongly believe that the bringing on board of Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) will certainly facilitate creation of jobs, with active participation of key stakeholders in the concept of green economy. Green jobs make a direct contribution to the preservation or restoration of the quality of the environment through protecting ecosystems and bio diversity, reduction of energy, material and water consumption. The other properties of green jobs include de-carbonisation of the economy and minimisation or altogether avoid generation of all forms of waste and pollution.
We are told that ILO has partnered with other United Nations (UN) agencies to harness the potential of the construction sector in promoting decent work in our country.
We are further told that the UN joint programme, "Enhancing competitiveness and sustainable business among MSMEs in the construction industry" aims at promoting sustainable livelihoods through creation of decent green jobs in sustainable MSMEs operating in the Zambian construction industry. The Zambia UN Green Jobs Programme is implementing this initiative by supporting MSMEs to grow and create decent green jobs, jobs in which rights, social dialogue and social protection are embedded. The programme is facilitating the capacity of key stakeholders to take on the challenge to promote a "just transition" to a low carbon economy with decent work and greener jobs.
Readers may wish to know that the programme has a component of extending social protection to vulnerable workers in Zambia's construction sector.
The programme has two components which look at the problem of coverage; the challenge for workers to fulfil the requirements, and the challenge for MSMEs to engage with legal and financial requirements.
To address these concerns, ILO entered into a memorandum of understanding with WCFCB and its sister organisation, the National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA), to provide technical assistance to extend coverage to vulnerable workers in MSMEs within the construction sector.
In a bid to improve social protection for workers and strengthen the capacity to implement policies that extend social protection, ILO has undertaken to develop tools and instruments for improved legal, administrative and governance frameworks for extension of coverage. The ILO has further undertaken to build capacity of stakeholders in policies and strategies for extension of social protection.
As such, ILO piloted an incubator in the saw milling industry which served as an opportunity for both WCFCB and NAPSA to select a number of MSMEs for initial engagement over critical issues of coverage and any incentives surrounding the matter.
The programme resulted in mobilisation of hundreds of workers and employers in the saw milling industry to discuss pertinent issues surrounding extension of coverage to workers. And for us at WCFCB, we feel that this is the beginning of greater things to come for workers employed in the informal sector. They too will access social protection like all of us. We find the objectives of ILO and other UN agencies in the green jobs programme to be in tandem with our own objectives of creating a safe Zambian industry for all workers. Our won investments in health and safety of workers positively respond or match those of the green jobs programme. This explains our interest in the green jobs programme. If we can work and live in a country with low carbon, low waste and pollution from industrial activity, then we will be attending to concerns of the present generation without compromising the interests of future generations of this country. Therefore, the partnership with ILO means working together on a common agenda to eliminate those aspects in the labour market which deprive workers, especially the vulnerable, of decent work. One such example is access to social protection if and when a worker contracts injuries or diseases in the work place.
Article originally published by Zambia Daily Mail.