Sunday, 15 June 2008

ILO Declaration: Social Justice for a Fair Globalisation

Following two successive years of debate, the ILO's annual International Labour Conference adopted a major Declaration on "Social Justice for a Fair Globalisation". According to Guy Ryder, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the declaration “speaks of the need to make a different reality possible. In place of our world of income inequality, high levels of unemployment and poverty and the growth of unprotected work, the adoption of this Declaration demonstrates a common commitment to build a world based on social justice."

The Declaration provides for regular review by the ILO of the components of decent work, which are now codified as inseparable and inter-related. It comprises, in particular, many paragraphs confirming the mandate for the ILO - deriving from its Constitution - to examine all economic, financial and trade policies, since they all affect employment. It is clearly the ILO's role to evaluate those employment effects in order to place employment and decent work at the heart of economic policies. Achieving this will require the ILO to make a strong and effective impact on the activities and policies proposed by the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and World Trade Organisation.

Other parts of the Declaration emphasise gender and non-discrimination, and call for a new package of international labour standards to be promoted everywhere, in particular the "governance" standards, covering tripartism, employment policy and labour inspection, in addition to the core labour standards. Freedom of Association and Collective bargaining are now formally codified as the enabling rights for the realisation of Decent Work for all. Governments are put on notice to put in place effective country programmes in order to attain decent work. The role of the ILO in achieving the extension of social security to all is emphasised, as well as a basic income for all in need, a minimum living wage and safe and healthy working conditions. A follow-up implementation plan is to be discussed at the next ILO Governing Body meeting in November 2008.

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