ILO report calls for human-centred future of work

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) Global Commission has called for a human-centred agenda for a decent future of work.

The call is contained in the commission’s report released on Tuesday.

The release of the report serves as a precursor for the annual meetings of the World Economic Forum (WEF), which kicks off on Wednesday in Davos, Switzerland.

Speaking at the launch of the report, President Cyril Ramaphosa, as co-chair of the Global Commission, said the commission was clear that people and the work they do must be at the centre of economic and social policy, and business practice.

Investment in people’s capabilities, institutions of work and decent and sustainable work, are at the centre of the report.

Under the first pillar, the commission’s first recommendation is for the formal recognition of a universal entitlement to lifelong learning and the establishment of an effective lifelong learning system.

“If people are to benefit from new opportunities, they need to re-skill and up-skill throughout their lives,” said President Ramaphosa.

The second recommendation is to step up investments in institutions, policies and strategies that will support people through the transitions associated with changes in the world of work.

“While there have always been transitions in the world of work – be it from formal study to work, the result of fluctuations in the labour market, or from work into retirement – these powerful forces have compounded the need to provide the necessary support during these transitions,” said the President.

A transformative and measurable agenda for gender equality was highlighted as the third recommendation under the pillar on people’s capabilities.

The report notes, for example, that women still perform three-quarters of all unpaid care work, and calls for policy change in this regard.

Under the second pillar, which calls for investment in institutions of work, the commission recommends all workers have an adequate living wage, maximum limits on hours of work and protection of safety and health at work.

Finally, the third pillar involves increasing investment in decent and sustainable work.

Under this pillar, the commission recommends investments in key areas that promote decent and sustainable work.

“In this regard, developing the rural economy and the green economy, as well as the provision of high quality physical and digital infrastructure, will be key,” said President Ramaphosa.

The final part of the report looks at what is needed to implement the commission’s recommendations.

The commission proposes that countries establish national strategies on the future of work through social dialogue between governments and employers’ and workers’ organisations.

“How we respond to the economic, political and societal changes that are upon us will be critical in the years and decades to come. The future of our societies depends on the choices we make now.

“The global economy has become increasingly integrated and as such, the commitments countries make in furtherance of the report’s recommendations must be global,” said President Ramaphosa. –