ILO expresses deep concern over economic crisis, moves to forge policy responses based on decent work

Amid growing concern over the impact of economic turmoil on workers, employers
and governments, the Governing Body of the International Labour Office (ILO)
today took the first steps toward forging employment and social policy
responses through social dialogue aimed at meeting the challenges of the
deepening global economic crisis.

The move came as the ILO's tripartite membership, and its Decent Work Agenda,
drew strong support from José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, President of the
Government of Spain, Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France, UN Secretary-General
Ban Ki-moon and Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development
Secretary-General Angel Gurría.

"The central conclusion is that the Decent Work Agenda is an appropriate policy
framework to confront the crisis", said ILO Director-General Juan Somavia.
"There is a powerful message that tripartite dialogue with employers and
workers organizations should play a central role in addressing the economic
crisis, and developing policy responses."

The ILO met amid new reports that the global economic crisis was deepening with
strong indications that economic growth in all regions will be substantially
lower in the remainder of 2008 and much lower in 2009. ILO data indicate that
unemployment could increase worldwide by some 20 million, while the number of
working poor living on less than $2 per day was also expected to rise.

"This calls for urgent action", said the Chair and Employer and Worker
Vice-Chairs of the ILO Governing Body in a special statement issued on the
financial and economic crisis. "We need comprehensive and coordinated measures
to minimize the duration and the depth of the downturn in the global economy as
well as to combat possible negative social consequences and accelerate

The statement identifies a number of measures that would be necessary to
"address the impact of the crisis on the real economy to protect people,
support productive enterprises and safeguard jobs," including:

  • ensuring the flow of credit to consumption, trade and investment;

  • protecting persons most exposed, including extending social protection and
    unemployment benefits, and promoting training, retraining and placement

  • supporting productive, profitable and sustainable enterprises together with a
    strong social economy and a viable public sector, so as to maximize employment
    and decent work;

  • ensuring that social progress is not undermined in the current crisis;

  • developing strong cooperation between the ILO and its tripartite constituents
    with the multilateral system in order to assist countries in implementing
    measures aimed at addressing the crisis; and,

  • maintaining development aid as a minimum at current levels and providing
    additional credit lines and support to enable low-income countries to cushion
    the crisis.

"We now have clear guidance on how to move forward" said Mr. Somavia, who was
elected to a third, five-year term as head of the agency on Tuesday. "We will
do this by expanding the ILO's work on responses to the labour and social
consequences of the crisis; supporting ILO constituents as they forge
responses; and engaging with the multilateral system, including the G20 process
and international finance institutions."

More information

AplusA-online.de - Source: International Labour Office (ILO)