By Obioma C. Appolos
In a bid to intimate and get world leaders prepared against the gloomy job crisis that faces the world of work, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in a recent landmark report put together by one of its commissions: Global Commission on the Future off Work, has told governments across the world that ‘an adequate living wage, social protection from birth to old age and an entitlement to lifelong learning among others are key to saving the human society.
ILO, through the Commission, called on governments to commit to a set of measures in order to address the challenges caused by unprecedented transformational change in the world of work.
The news report of the ILO stated that the Commission, “ Co-chaired by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Swedish Prime Minister, Stefan Löfven, outlines a vision for a human-centred agenda that is based on investing in people’s capabilities, institutions of work and in decent and sustainable work”.
It also quoted the Swedish Prime Minister, saying “The world of work is undergoing great changes. They create many opportunities for more and better jobs. But governments, trade unions and employers need to work together, to make economies and labour markets more inclusive. Such a social dialogue can help make globalization work for everyone.”
The ten recommendations are: “A universal labour guarantee that protects fundamental workers’ rights, an adequate living wage, limits on hours of work and safe and healthy workplaces, Guaranteed social protection from birth to old age that supports people’s needs over the life cycle, A universal entitlement to lifelong learning that enables people to skill, reskill and upskill.
“Managing technological change to boost decent work, including an international governance system for digital labour platforms. Greater investments in the care, green and rural economies. A transformative and measurable agenda for gender equality. Reshaping business incentives to encourage long-term investments.”
Furthermore, the report stated that “Countless opportunities lie ahead to improve the quality of working lives, expand choice, close the gender gap, reverse the damages wreaked by global inequality. Yet none of this will happen by itself. Without decisive action we will be sleepwalking into a world that widens existing inequalities and uncertainties.”
While it mentioned the challenges caused by new technology, climate change and demography and calls for a collective global response to the disruptions they are causing in the world of work, it warned that; “Artificial intelligence, automation and robotics will lead to job losses, as skills become obsolete. However, these same technological advances, along with the greening of economies will also create millions of jobs – if new opportunities are seized.”
For the record, the report is the culmination of a 15-month examination by the 27-member commission, which is made up of leading figures from business and labour, think tanks, academia, government and non-governmental organizations.
“The ILO Global Commission Report on the future of Work is a vital contribution to global understanding of the changes occurring – and that will continue to unfold – in the world of work,” “The report should stimulate engagement and partnerships within and between national and regional jurisdictions to ensure that the global economy and global society becomes more equitable, just and inclusive. At the same it should inspire global action to contain or eliminate challenges that humanity has inflicted on itself in the course of history.” Said Ramaphosa.
Meanwhile, the report highlights ‘unique role’ the ILO should play in the development and delivery of the ‘human-centred economic agenda’ in the international system and calls on the organization to give urgent attention to the implementation of the report’s recommendations.
In his response, ILO Director-General Guy Ryder, said that “The issues highlighted in this report matter to people everywhere and to the planet.” He added that “They may be challenging but we ignore them at our peril. The ILO’s mandate, bringing together governments, employers and workers from all parts of the world, means the organization is well suited to act as a compass and a guide in order to help open up new vistas for coming generations at work.”