The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has announced its backing for ILO Deputy Director-General Guy Ryder to succeed Juan Somavia as Director-General of the tripartite UN body in the election for the post in May. “The world is facing its greatest employment crisis since the 1930s, and the ILO’s role in the international arena is absolutely crucial. Guy Ryder has all the qualities and experience needed to lead the ILO in ensuring decent jobs and social justice are at the heart of the global response,” said ITUC Secretary-General Sharan Burrow. “His experience of the ILO, commitment to its values, knowledge of the role and content of labour standards, the supervisory system, labour market institutions, social dialogue and employment policies make him the candidate of merit.”
Prior to his current position, Ryder’s ILO experience included serving as Head of the organisation’s Workers’ Activities Bureau, and as chief of the Director-General’s office. In 2002 he was elected Secretary-General of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), and led the process of unification of the international trade movement culminating in the creation of the ITUC in 2006. He served as ITUC Secretary-General until returning to the ILO in 2010.
ITUC affiliates around the world are lobbying to support his candidacy in the election, which will take place at the ILO Governing Body meeting in late May. Twenty-eight government delegates and 14 delegates, each from employer organisations and trade unions, will vote in the election. The ITUC represents 175 million workers in 153 countries and territories and has 308 national affiliates.