GENEVA (ILO News) ‒ The Director-General of the International Labour Organization, Guy Ryder, stressed the need to defend the rule of law in the face of those who “resort to war to deny social justice,” as he addressed the opening of the 110th session of the International Labour Conference (ILC).
“Lasting peace depends on social justice, and the achievement of social justice depends upon peace. Those who resort to war deny social justice. And those who obstruct social justice endanger peace,” emphasized Ryder.
With countries experiencing an uneven and sometimes “fragile recovery” in their labour markets from the COVID-19 pandemic, Ryder warned that there is “all too likely worse to come” for the global economy because of the impact of the Russian aggression against Ukraine.
The situation “is generating global crises in respect of food, of energy and of finance,” said Ryder, and “has put international cooperation under considerable and maybe unprecedented pressure.”
“Just as the flouting of the UN Charter by military aggression is not to be tolerated and must not prevail, so the violation of international labour standards must not go unanswered,” added the Director-General. He urged delegates to show “that multilateralism ‒ in this house allied with tripartism ‒ actually works”.
As at every ILC, delegates will examine specific country cases that are brought before the Committee on the Application of Standards.
Introducing his report to the ILC, entitled The least developed countries: Crisis, structural transformation and the future of work, Ryder said that “the LDCs are the most in danger of being left behind. So, if we are serious about the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, we must be serious about the LDCs because it is there, above all that the fate of the Agenda will be played out.”
The Director-General welcomed key discussions that will take place during the Conference. Among them will be the possible amendment of the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, 1998, to include safe and healthy working conditions.
Referring to the three million lives lost each year because of work-related accidents and diseases, he stressed the ‘stark and clear’ responsibility of the ILO to protect workers against sickness, disease and injury arising from employment.
An initial discussion on quality apprenticeships will also take place, with a view to the possible creation of a new international labour standard. In addition, committees will discuss decent work and the social and solidarity economy, and the strategic objective of employment as part of the follow-up mechanism of the ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization.
The Conference will be held in hybrid format, with delegates attending in person in Geneva, as well as virtually. Committees will begin their work on 30 May. Plenary sittings will be held between 6 and 11 June.
On 10 June, a high-level World of Work Summit will address the theme “Tackling multiple global crises: Promoting a human-centred recovery and resilience.”
The first day of the Conference saw Claudio Moroni, Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Security of Argentina, elected President of the Conference over its duration, from 27 May to 11 June.
The Conference elected as Vice-Presidents Ali Samikh Al-Marri (Governments) from Qatar, Alexandre Furlan (Employers) from Brazil and Paola del Carmen Egúsquiza Granda (Workers) from Perú.
“Putting into practice the ‘new normality’ that we so much advocate, placing people at the centre of our concerns, requires the urgent implementation of inclusive policies and a system of international rules and agreements that promotes growth with an equitable distribution of its results,” emphasized Claudio Moroni.
The ILC, underlined Renate Hornung-Draus, Employer Vice-Chairperson of the ILO Governing Body, “takes place in a period of complex global crises that create an existential challenge to the multilateral institutions and traditions as they were created and developed in the twentieth century and that may well constitute a turning point towards a future setting that needs to be shaped proactively, including by the International Labour Organization.”
“In 2022 we are facing the existential threats or nuclear war, climate change and pandemics in combination with a toxic mix of rising poverty and inequality, extremism, nationalism, gender violence and shrinking democratic space,” added Catelene Passchier, Worker Vice-Chairperson of the ILO Governing Body.
The ILC, sometimes known as the world parliament of labour, is the largest international gathering dedicated to the world of work, attended by representatives of governments, employers and workers from the 187 ILO Member States. Delegates discuss key world of work issues, adopt and monitor the application of International Labour Standards and set the ILO’s global priorities and budget.