ILO, Somalia seal a deal to advance decent work agenda in the country


The Federation of Somali Trade Unions (FESTU) is pleased to have joined the Federal Government of Somalia and the Somali Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) in signing Somalia’s first ever Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) with the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

The signing ceremony held in Geneva, Switzerland, on the side-lines of the ongoing 111th session of the ILO’s International Labour Conference brings to a triumphant conclusion of the long and difficult journey in which Somali workers, through the Federation of Somali Trade Unions (FESTU) have consistently demanded that the Decent Work Country Programme be the key to addressing the widespread decent work deficits, abject poverty and climate change induced calamities in Somalia.

The Decent Work Country Programme is a gateway to creation of more and better climate-friendly jobs, protection of workers’ rights, domesticating and implementing international labour standards, promoting local employment partnerships across all regions of the country, rooting social dialogue in labour market policy formulation and implementation, upgrading workers’ skills, pushing for social protection and improving occupational health and safety.

The ILO Assistant Director General and Regional Director for Africa, Ms. Cynthia Samuel-Olonjuwom, signed the DWCP with the Somali Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Hon. Bihi Iman Egeh, the Managing Director of the Somali Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), Mr. Abdi Abshir Dorre and the General Secretary of Federation of Somali Trade Unions (FESTU).

Somalia is groaning under the chronic problem of massive unemployment and precarious working conditions which weighs heavily on young workers and women workers. Violence and harassment in the world of work, hazardous conditions as well as in-work poverty are widespread, especially in the informal and rural economies. Many children are not only trapped in child labour as breadwinners for their families but also being used for violent crimes and conflicts in the country.

“The history speaks for itself. The decade-long quest for this Decent Work Country Programme, by Somali workers and their trade unions, demonstrates the never-ending passion and faith that workers have in the globally acclaimed ILO’s Decent Work Agenda and social justice for all,” said FESTU General Secretary Omar Faruk Osman.

“We are therefore delighted to have reached its conclusion point, where we have put our signatures on it, which means that the country officially has a national Decent Work Country Programme and we are pouring our energy and dedication into its judicious and timely implementations so that the specified priority objectives are achieved,” added Osman.

The Decent Work Country Programme which is in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals and the National Development Plan (NDP-9), also elevates the positive spirit of social dialogue and tripartism that the federal government, workers’ and employers’ organizations have collectively adopted as a way of working.

Through the DWCP, FESTU and its affiliated trade unions will be advocating for Somalia to adopt sound laws, policies and adequately resourced programmes to concretely address unemployment and underemployment, poverty, low wage and wage disparity, child labour, the lack of social protection coverage for the majority, poor social dialogue structures, the existential threat of climate change based on a just transition,  violence and harassment as well as all forms of  discrimination in Somalia’s world of work aimed at realizing decent work as well as inclusive, resilient and sustainable development for all.