Head of UN labour agency urges efforts to tackle global lack of

In a just-released report, the Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Juan Somavia, expresses “profound concern about a global decent work deficit of immense proportions, reflecting the diverse inequalities of our societies.” The report estimates that there are 160 million people “openly unemployed” in the world. However, if underemployed people are taken into account, “the number skyrockets to at least 1 billion.” The report says that “of every 100 workers worldwide, 6 are fully unemployed according to the ILO definition, and another 16 are unable to earn enough to get their families over the most minimal poverty line of $1 per day.” Human rights abuses are rampant, according to the report, which estimates that some 250 million children worldwide are working, while trafficking in human beings, especially women and young people, is on the increase. At the same time, an estimated 80 per cent of the world’s workers are lacking in adequate social protection, such as health care, while 3,000 people a day die as a consequence of work-related accidents or disease. In higher-income countries, income insecurity is a growing problem and “workplace anxiety, depression and exhaustion are often reported.” While acknowledging that average incomes are rising worldwide and that the global economy shows great potential for innovation and productivity, the report notes that “gains are accompanied by persistent inequality, growing exclusion, insecurities caused by economic fluctuations and a feeling that the ground rules are unfair.” Arguing that “reducing the decent work deficit is the quality road to poverty reduction and to greater legitimacy of the global economy,” Mr. Somavia calls on all ILO member States to help promote quality employment opportunities.The report will be considered by the International Labour Conference, set to meet in Geneva from 5 to 21 June. The conference brings together ministers of labour, employers and workers in the ILO’s 175 member States.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *