Mauritius: The 5th African Labour Law Society Conference focusing on the theme, African Labour Law in a Rapidly Tech Era, and aiming to promote the sharing of knowledge on labour law among participants from different jurisdictions within the African continent, opened this morning at the Intercontinental Hotel in Pointe aux Piments.
Around 150 participants, including Labour Law practitioners and Human Resource specialists, are attending the two-day conference, which will focus on various themes such as remote working; privacy and rights at work, the future of work and the implication of digital transformation; and labour and industrial relations law in a post-COVID-19 Mauritius, amongst others.
Present at the opening, the Advisor on Industrial Relations and Policy Matters of the Ministry of Labour, Human Resource Development and Training, Mr Mariahven Caremben, indicated that a skilled, mobile and agile labour force has become the pre-requisite to attaining economic and social goals.
He underlined that the nature of work, the workforce and work relations are constantly being reshaped by changing demographics, greater global integration, increased competition and technological advancement. Businesses across industries are using technology to boost efficiency and gain competitive advantage, he added.
Mr Caremben pointed out that emerging technologies are increasingly being used to improve how we manage people, but at the same time, they are raising concerns about the rights of atypical workers, data privacy and workplace monitoring.
He also stressed the need for labour laws to follow suit and adapt to the ever-changing dynamics adding that governments have the responsibility to adapt labour legislation so that workers do not become the victims of change.
The government, he said, came up with the Workers Rights Act in 2019 to reassess labour laws, consolidate the fundamental rights of workers and ensure better protection of workers’ jobs. Several measures were taken for the welfare of workers, namely Working from Home, Flexible working hours, National Minimum Wage, and the Wage Guarantee Fund.
Also, at present, the President of the Redundancy Board, Mr Rashid Hossen, stated that technology played a key role in ensuring the continuity of work during the COVID-19 pandemic and stressed the importance of exploiting the potential of new technologies in labour and industrial relations.
The conference, he further added, provides an important platform for participants to share their expertise and enhance collaboration among countries in Africa.
For his part, the Director of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) of Madagascar, Mr Coffi Agossou, stated that the ILO had made a lot of efforts to make timely and coherent solutions to bring new standards and norms and protect workers.
He also dwelt on the aims of the ILO, which are to promote rights at work, encourage decent employment opportunities, enhance social protection and strengthen dialogue on work-related issues. It is important to bring new standards and norms to labour and strengthen the efficiency of institutions of work through the modernisation of labour laws, he added.