Special coverage

International Labour Conference poised to consider the future of work

The 104th annual International Labour Conference began Monday in Geneva. Thousands of delegates representing governments, employees and employers met to discuss and address informality and core labour protection issues.

Audio | 01 June 2015

The 104th International Labour Conference opened Monday with a call by the ILO Director-General Guy Ryder to confront major challenges facing the future of work.

Ryder said the proposed Future of work initiative is to include work and society, decent jobs for all, and the governance of work.
He proposed a high-level commission on the future of work be set up to prepare a report to the ILO’s centenary Conference in 2019. Ryder called on delegates to consider adopting a solemn centenary declaration:

“The issues of jobs, of equity, the sustainability of human security, of labour mobility and of social dialogue and much more which need to be tackled in a future of work initiative are almosta definition of the key policy issues of our time.”

The International Labour Conference is an annual event hosted by the International Labour Organization and welcomes delegates from employers, workers and government. This year’s agenda includes the discussion of a recommendation aimed at transititoning from the informal to the formal economy.

The conference elected Ieva Jaunzeme, State Secretary of the Ministry of Welfare of Latvia, as President of the ILC. She highlighted the ILO’s influence on her country’s role as president of the European Union council.

“ILO standards under the tripartite practices have inspired us while working on and implementing the presidency program.”

The representative for the employers, Jorgen Ronnest, referred to another issue on the conference agenda—the transition from the informal to the formal economy.

“Informality represents the biggest barrier to improvement of the employment situation in many countries.”

And wrapping up the opening ceremony, workers spokesperson Luc Cortebeck emphasized the importance of key discussions on core labour protection issues, including wages, safety and health, working time and maternity protection.

“Less protection does not help the economy. And does not create jobs. On the contrary it creates high costs for enterprises and society.”

The conference continues until June 13th.

Reporting from the Palais de Nations in Geneva this is Carla Drysdale.