Global call to action on post-COVID labour

By Adel Fruean 19 June 2021, 1:00PM

A global labour summit attended  by Samoa has announced measures as part of a global call to action to prioritise people's welfare in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The measures also places priority on the creation of decent jobs for everyone while addressing inequalities that have been brought on by the pandemic.

The International Labour Conference (I.L.C.), which was held virtually from June 7–19 brought together governments, workers and employers, and delegates of the International Labour Organisation (I.L.O.) member states. 

The conference establishes and adopts international labour standards and is a forum for the discussion of key social and labour issues. It also adopts the organisation's budget and elects its governing body.

Ministry of Commerce Industry and Labour (M.C.I.L.) Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Albert Meredith represented Samoa in the virtual conference which attracted 87 I.L.O. member countries.

The I.L.O. released a statement after the virtual summit which – as part of the conference’s call for global action – outlined a comprehensive agenda that committed countries to ensuring their economic and social recovery from the crisis is “fully inclusive, sustainable and resilient.”

The call for action identified two pathways: the first covers measures to be taken by national governments and their employer and trade union ‘social partners’ to achieve a job-rich recovery that substantially strengthens worker and social protections and supports sustainable enterprises.

The second pathway covers international cooperation and the role of multilateral institutions, including the I.L.O. with the aim of increasing the level and coherence of their support for national “human-centred” pandemic recovery strategies.

The call for action also urges the I.L.O. with its mandate for social justice and decent work to play a leadership role, and to use all means of action to support the design and implementation of recovery strategies that leave no one behind, including by reinforcing cooperation with other institutions of the multilateral system.

The I.L.O. Director-General Guy Ryder said that unless countries specifically address the inequalities that have deepened during the pandemic, there is a very real risk that the economic and social consequences will cause long-term scarring.

“Creating a recovery that is inclusive, sustainable and resilient must become a top priority for public policy,” he said in a statement.

“This resolution provides a clear and comprehensive way forward that will enable countries to convert the moral and political aspiration of leaving no one behind into concrete action.

“Unless we specifically address the inequalities that have deepened during this crisis there is a very real risk that the economic and social consequences will cause long-term scarring, particularly for disproportionately-affected groups such as young people and women, and the small and micro enterprises that provide most of the world’s employment.”

The call to action is grounded in the I.L.O. Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work which was adopted at the 2019 I.L.C. 

The call provides a path for accelerating practical implementation of the declaration through enhanced policies and investment that support a broad-based, fully-inclusive recovery. 

It also calls for urgent, coordinated action in related areas, including international cooperation and solidarity to ensure global and equal access to vaccines, treatments and preventive measures.

By Adel Fruean 19 June 2021, 1:00PM

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