The International Labour Conference ended on June 8 with a call by the head of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), to “nurture, protect and practice” social dialogue.
The ILO, the organiser of the programme, said tripartism – bringing together governments, employers and workers together – “not only adds value in the world of work, but is a most potent antidote to some of those negative trends we are observing in public and political discourse,” Guy Ryder, director-general of the ILO said.
Ryder noted the progress made by the three groups in negotiating possible new standards on violence and harassment at work.
He said that he was confident about a positive outcome of this discussion “because of the sheer importance of what is at stake. Truly this issue is too big for us to fail.”
The conference will resume discussion of violence and harassment in the world of work during the ILO’s centenary conference in June 2019, with a view to the adoption of a Convention supplemented by a Recommendation.
Referring to his report to the Conference calling for a renewed push for gender equality, he said that “business as usual will not suffice” and that “we need to give greater substance” to five building blocks – a high road to a new care economy; strengthening women’s control over their time; valuing women’s work fairly; raising voice and representation and ending violence and harassment.
The ILO’s Women at Work Initiative will feed into the outcome of the Future of Work Initiative , “for the simple reason that the future of work that we want is one with full equality.”
Turning to the Conference Committee that dealt with effective development cooperation, he noted that its discussion could not have been more timely, given the UN development system reform process. “It is a critical political step and one that confirms the urgent need for the ILO to trace out the future path of its work in these changing circumstances.”
On June 4, Noble Peace Prize winner, Kailash Satyarthi, attended an event featuring the 20th anniversary of the Global March Against Child Labour .
The conference also commemorated the 20th anniversary of the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.
The Conference was addressed by three heads of state: the President of Ireland, Michael O’Higgins, President of the Central African Republic, Faustin Archange Touadéra, and the President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos. All three Presidents highlighted the role of decent work in efforts to promote peace and social justice.
On June 7, a World of Work Summit followed up on this issue, focusing on the importance of creating decent jobs in countries emerging from conflict, crisis and disaster.
A panel discussion at the Summit brought together Helder Da Costa, General Secretary of the g7+; Sylvia Escobar, President of the oil company Terpel from Colombia; Rosa Helena Flórez González, General Secretary of the Confederación de Trabajadores de Colombia (CTC); Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); Lucija Ljubić-Lepine, Permanent Representative of Bosnia to the United Nations in Geneva; and Rokia Traoré, Ambassador for the Fondation Passerelle from Mali.
The director-general’s submitted his annual report on The situation of workers of Arab territories. The report is based on a mission that gathered and assessed information on the situation of workers of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza) and the Syrian Golan.
The Conference also decided to abrogate six and withdraw three international labour standards.
Two other Conference Committees dealt with Social Dialogue and Tripartism and the Application of ILO Conventions and Recommendations.
More than 5,000 accredited delegates from 187 ILO member States attended the 107th session of the International Labour Conference, which sets the broad policies of the International Labour Organization and meets once a year in Geneva, Switzerland.