26 Nov 2007

Variety of approaches needed to confront Pacific labour problems - ILO official

8:08 pm on 26 November 2007

The United Nation's agency for promoting workers' rights says there's no one clear solution to the Pacific's labour problems.

A three-day meeting about Pacific labour issues is underway in Nadi, involving participants from Australia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

The director of the International Labour Organisation's Pacific arm, Dr Abu Mohammed Zackaria, says some countries have serious skills shortages, while others have growing numbers of unemployed youths.

He says the ILO has had success helping locals start small businesses such as honey-making and carpentry in Fiji and Kiribati.

But he says the loss of workers to higher-paying jobs overseas is a global trend.

"People always find opportunities abroad. To stop that trend would be not easy. And if the economic performance doesn't improve, then to keep people inside the country would not be that simple."

The United Nations says the challenge of creating jobs in South Pacific countries is immense and growing.