ILO demands social justice for workers
By Lincoln G. Peters
The International Labor Organization (ILO) has urged governments and employers to consider prioritizing social justice for all.
During the celebration of this year’s International Labor Day, ILO Director-General Mr. Gilbert F. Houngbo urged that policies and actions of labor laws be human-centered.
He urged that the instruments should allow people to pursue both their material well-being and their spiritual development in conditions of freedom and dignity, economic security, and equal opportunity.
Mr. Houngbo said the approach is not new, explaining that it was set out and agreed upon in the aftermath of World War Two when the ILO’s international membership signed the 1944 Declaration of Philadelphia.
“This visionary document set out guiding principles for our economic and social systems, that they should not be turned exclusively to hitting specific growth rates or other statistical targets, but to address human needs and aspirations,” he said.
“This means focusing on inequality, poverty alleviation, and core social protection,” he added.
The ILO Director-General said the most effective way to do this is by providing quality jobs so that people can support themselves and build their futures – ‘Decent Work for All’, as Sustainable Development Goal 8 terms it.’
The ILO’s Director-General disclosed that focusing on the abovementioned factors would help to realistically address the long-term structural transformations.
According to him, they ensure that new technology creates and supports employment, proactively face the challenges of climate change, and ensures people offer the jobs, skills training, and transition support necessary for workers and businesses to benefit from the new low-carbon era.
“We must reinvigorate labor institutions and organizations so that social dialogue is effective and vigorous.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Houngbo has urged workers across the world to take this opportunity and move forward to build equitable and resilient societies that can underpin lasting peace and social justice.
Also, the ILO Director-General said after three years of the COVID-19 crisis, followed by inflation, conflict, and food and fuel supply shocks, there is a need for strong social justice laws with the promises of renewal made during the pandemic of ‘building back better.’
According to him, these have so far not been delivered for the great majority of workers worldwide.
‘’Globally, real wages have fallen, poverty is rising, inequality seems more entrenched than ever,” he lamented.
He said enterprises have been hard hit, and many could not cope with the cumulative effects of recent unexpected events.