Speeches

Address by President Danny Faure on the occasion of Labour Day 2019

30 April 2019 | State House

Compatriots,

Dear Seychellois brothers and sisters,

It is a great pleasure and privilege to address you on the occasion of Labour Day.

This day has a great historic significance. It represents the fight of workers around the world for their rights and their protection. It also represents a day of solidarity with all workers that continue to fight for their rights to be recognised and their conditions of work to change and improve.

This year, Seychelles joins the International Labour Organisation, a United Nations Agency, to celebrate 100 years of its existence.

Here in Seychelles, Labour Day is a day for celebration, but also reflection. In our reflection, let us ask ourselves how each one of us, through our work, is improving the lives of our family, contributing to our homes, helping our organisation move forward, and finally, adding to the development of our country in general.

In my various visits to workplaces, be it in in the public or private sector, I met a workforce that is dedicated and truly impassioned about the work that they are doing. I was touched by meeting workers who have been in the same organisation for over 10 years, and those who have been there for over 40 years.

It is the workforce that inspires the younger generation. Their message is that we need to improve our attitude and discipline. This is the challenge that exists today. We need to strengthen the role of mentoring. This means having experienced workers act as role models for younger workers. We need to give them all our support, at all times.

I also met young workers and professionals full of enthusiasm, energy and lots of ideas to make a difference in their workplace. We need to create the space and opportunities for them to contribute. We need to put our confidence in them at the same time as we guide them.

We need to encourage an environment where management has regular dialogue with staff, where their concerns are addressed. This will improve the workplace morale and improve productivity.

Labour Day is also a day for celebration.

Celebration of the achievements that workers have made together. Celebration of the successes that workers have shared together. Celebration of the determination of the Seychellois workforce for the progress of Seychelles in all aspects.

Fellow workers, as our national theme says, let us value a culture of hard work. It is this culture of hard work that has brought Seychelles to where it is today, and it is this culture of hard work that will take Seychelles further.

All professions have their importance. All work has its value. We have done a lot to improve the conditions of workers. Seychellois workers know well what has been done where their rights are concerned, and their protection under the employment laws. Today, it is an occasion for me to once more, salute all workers. Thank you very much for your contributions that have brought Seychelles to where it is today.

Before this current workforce, there were other generations of workers that knew deplorable, difficult, and unjust working conditions. They are the ones that made the foundation from which workers today can continue to build upon, and they are the ones that have enabled us to stand tall as a people.

This category of workers took their retirement many years ago, and today they live only on their social security pension. This category of pensioners took their retirement before the Seychelles Pension Fund was established.

They do not get any other pension that exists today aside from social security. My administration has decided to give them additional support. They will get SCR 500 a month from January 2020. This sum will be budgeted in the 2020 Budget and will be administered by the Agency for Social Protection.

We have another category of workers that are pensioners today. They have contributed to the Seychelles Pension Fund, and today they are receiving both a pension from Seychelles Pension Fund and a pension from social security. However, because they are receiving less than SCR 1000 a month from Pension Fund, from January 2020, my administration has decided to implement a policy so that their pensions increase to SCR 1000 a month. This sum will be included in the 2020 Budget.

I am also pleased to announce that retirement pension under social security will increase from SCR 5250 to SCR 5750 from January 2020, an increase of SCR 500.

Fellow workers,

Since 2008, when Government first introduced a national minimum wage, there has been a great effort to continue to support those earning the lowest salaries.

Today, I would like to announce that from 1 January 2020, the national minimum wage will increase by SCR 500 a month.

This means that the wage rate will go from SCR 34.97 per hour to SCR 38.27 per hour. This means, per month, for work based on 35 hours a week, the salary will increase from SCR 5303.70 to SCR 5804 a month in January 2020.

This decision is being taken in line with my administration’s policy to support those earning lower salaries in the private sector, and also to stop workers earning minimum wage to fall into poverty.

On 29 December 2016, I signed a law that made it mandatory for workers in the private sector to be paid a 13th month salary. Today, I would like to announce that my administration will maintain this policy, and that the law on the 13th month salary will remain in force.

It is important for us as a country in competition with other countries around the world, that we focus on improving our attitude, discipline and productivity. It is important for us to understand that if we want our country to move ahead, we need to do our work with a greater sense of responsibility.

There is sick leave abuse in the workplace. It affects productivity and is a challenge for employers. We have decided to review this. From June this year, annual sick leave will decrease from 30 days to 21 days.

However, parents with sick leave for their children will get 7 additional days.

We are working hard to improve the welfare of our workers. One of these measures concerns assistance for Day Care and Child Minding.

Assistance that parents are eligible to receive from the Government that is SCR 500 today will increase to SCR 750 from January 2020.

Another measure that I would like to announce today is annual leave. As you all know, all workers get 21 days as annual leave. My administration has decided that from January 2020, annual leave will be 24 days.

Fellow Seychellois workers,

Seychelles continues to develop. Seychellois workers continue to contribute. We remain a country that is stable, a country that is peaceful. Today, I salute your determination and hard work.

Let us continue, hand in hand, always united, to help our country progress. I wish you all a very happy labour day.

To view the FULL Video of Presidential Address for Labour Day click below link to the State House Website video gallery: http://www.statehouse.gov.sc/video.php

 

 

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