Su’a William SIO
13 May 2012
Call for Community to Lead Employment Debate
Ensuring a work-family balance – the theme of tomorrow’s UN International Day of Families - requires a community-wide
focus on ‘everyone’s right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to
protection against unemployment’, Labour’s spokesperson on Employment, Pacific Island Affairs and Inter-Faith Dialogue
Su’a William Sio, says.
Speaking at church services this weekend Su’a William Sio called on church and community leaders to become involved with
the debate on ‘work and family balance’ and to use the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the foundation to build
“It is the community’s responsibility to take ownership of this debate and ensure it is focused on good and productive
social and economic outcomes for families, communities and our country,” Su’a William Sio said.
“At the moment the discussion on employment and family balance is being driven by the Government’s political and
ideological expediency which is narrowly focused, and extremely negative towards those sectors in our community most in
“There are sectors in our community who are struggling to balance the need to find jobs that pay well to support their
families, and having enough time to care and protect young or sick members of their families.
“There are people working long hours but who still can’t get ahead because of low wages. Many of them believe the
Government isn’t hearing their voices nor listening to their needs.
Quoting Article 23, Su’a William Sio said it was becoming increasingly important to uphold the rights that ‘everyone who
works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for themselves and his/her family an existence worthy
of human dignity’.
“A key component is the availability – or not - of jobs with incomes that allow workers to look after their families.
“While employment and income support should be at the center of this debate, we also need to be talking about other
aspects of people’s lives - their personal circumstances, their quality of life, housing and healthcare needs, the roles
of motherhood in caring and protecting our children and income levels needed for this, the growing inequality in
communities, and the levels of poverty experienced by many families,” Su’a William Sio said.
· Article 22
Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national
effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the
economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.
(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to
protection against unemployment.
(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an
existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
· Article 24
Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with
· Article 25
(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family,
including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event
of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his
(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of
wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.
· Article 26
(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages.
Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and
higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for
human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations,
racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.