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108th ILO: World Leaders, Others Seek Social Justice

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OLAJIDE FABAMISE FROM Geneva

World leaders have drumed support for social Justice towards ending the harassment and violence at the workplace. Heads of state and government from Jamaica, Burkina Faso and Serbia, as well as the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority and representatives of employers and workers, stated this yesterday at the ongoing International Labour Conference (ILC) on the third day of its Centenary session in Geneva. They expressed their support for the ILO’s social justice mandate, even as  more high level visits are expected to take place during the conference from June 1021 in the last days of the June. Addressing delegates, the Prime Minister of Jamaica, Michel Holness said; “the humanness of the world of work is diminishing, as automation subsumes labour input.” He spoke of, “an overarching covenant that links the past to the future,” and “places a moral and philosophical obligation on governments to ensure that all citizens share in the progress and prosperity of their countries.”

“The leaders of the Caribbean remain conscious that the future   and our obligations to the next generation – now summon us to seize the moment and draw on the creative imagination that is forever located in the dynamism of a Caribbean tradition that puts people first,” he said. The Prime Minister of Burkina Faso, Christophe Joseph Marie Dabire, said that any consideration of the future of work must be “a consideration of the future of mankind…the majority of whom live in the southern hemisphere and half of them on the African continent.” According to him, “It is also urgent that the scope of the social contract be broadened to ensure that public policies are made to incorporate a legal framework that regulates all forms of work, be it formal or informal.”

Also the Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia, Ana Brnabic, said, “there are two key areas where we need to invest to prepare for the future which has already started: one is education and the other is creativity.” “Creativity will play a crucial role in the new world created by the 4th Industrial Revolution simply because it cannot be outsourced, it cannot be automated, and it’s not part of the race to the bottom”. Speaking on behalf of the workers’ group, the General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, Sharon Burrow, spoke of “the urgent challenge of putting a floor of dignity under all workers, which she said “lies with everybody.” “ I’m afraid, we are on the verge of an age of anger. It comes from despair, a lack of hope, and, as the social contract continues to break down, and the challenge for us is to reaffirm, develop and renew the social contract.” For the Employers’ Group, Roberto Suarez Santos, Secretary-General of the International Organization of Employers told delegates that, “the future offers more opportunities than before. Millions of workers, individuals and companies will have unprecedented access to education, to skills and business connections.”

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