ILO Governing Body calls for comprehensive crisis response, long-term sustainable development based on global jobs pact

The Governing Body of the International Labour Office called for an “employment oriented” response to the global economic crisis based on policy measures set out in the ILO’s Global Jobs Pact. In their conclusions, Governing Body members said “A more balanced economic growth pattern must not lose sight of the need to urgently address large-scale unemployment, underemployment and rising income inequality. These issues deserve the same high level political priority that has been given to the rescue of financial institutions.”

“Getting those who have lost their jobs back to work and ensuring that the millions of young women and men who start looking for work each year get a good start in their working lives is a vital first step for recovery and sustainable growth and development,” the Governing Body concluded. “Making the transition then from crisis response to stronger, more sustainable, equitable development and a fair globalization will need an employment oriented framework for the medium and longer term.”

The Governing Body stated that the ILO’s Global Jobs Pact adopted by the Organization’s tripartite constituents in June contained “a policy package of practical measures to counteract the immediate crisis and set a course for sustainable recovery,” and called the response of the multilateral system, including the United Nations, the G20, the G8 and other international and regional organizations encouraging.

“It is time to apply the same efforts and policy creativity to create jobs and support enterprises that was deployed in saving banks and rescuing the financial system,” said ILO Director-General Juan Somavia. “This is a fundamental yardstick by which the future evolution of this crisis will be looked at”.

The Governing Body requested the Director-General of the ILO to deepen support for countries applying the Pact, seek additional resources to fund policy initiatives within the framework of the Pact, and increase the Office’s capacity to respond to constituents’ requests, including through South-South cooperation. It encouraged the Office to further develop its cooperation with multilateral financial institutions.

The Governing Body also discussed the impact of the global economic crisis on various economic sectors and wages, and technical cooperation in support of the ILO’s response to the crisis, as well as a new ILO-UNDP led United Nations Policy for post-conflict employment creation, income generation and reintegration.

The meeting considered developments in Myanmar with respect to forced labour on the basis of a report by the ILO Liaison Officer in Yangon. In its conclusions, the Governing Body noted that full compliance with the ILO’s Forced Labour Convention, No.29 (1930), had not yet been achieved. Noting the Government’s cooperation regarding the complaints submitted under the Supplementary Understanding between the ILO and Myanmar, it recalled the need to strengthen the capacity of the ILO to deal with complaints throughout the country.

Delegates were deeply concerned about the continued imprisonment of a number of persons who have complained of being subjected to forced labour or who have been associated with such complaints in total contradiction with the Government’s commitments under the Supplementary Understanding. The Governing Body called for the immediate release of all persons currently detained being complainants, facilitators and others associated with the complaints mechanism, as well as for the unconditional release of all imprisoned political and labour activists.

The Governing Body also approved the report of the Committee on Freedom of Association that draws special attention to the cases of Cambodia, Guatemala and the Republic of Korea.

The Governing Body is the executive body of the International Labour Office (the Office is the secretariat of the Organization). It meets three times a year, in March, June and November and takes decisions on ILO policy, the agenda of the International Labour Conference and the draft Programme and Budget of the Organization for submission to the Conference.

It is composed of 56 titular members (28 Governments, 14 Employers and 14 Workers) and 66 deputy members (28 Governments, 19 Employers and 19 Workers). Ten of the titular government seats are permanently held by States of chief industrial importance (Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States). The other Government members are elected by the Conference every three years.

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