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Schweiz Jubiläumskonferenz der Internationalen Arbeitsorganisation | Angela Merkel, deutsche Bundeskanzlerin
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/Keystone/S. di Nolfi

ILO workers' organization urges social justice

June 11, 2019

The UN's international labor organization has started centenary celebrations in Geneva. Chancellor Merkel is among the world leaders attending to make a point for "social standards."


World leaders headed to Geneva on Tuesday to mark the 100th anniversary of the International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations agency that aims to "promote decent work throughout the world."

Chancellor Angela Merkel said: "We want social standards to apply to all people of this world."

"The ILO is as relevant today as it was 100 years ago," Merkel told delegates. "Today we must further improve working conditions. Economic growth must be turned into social progress. Multilateral action is bringing us forward, and we are all dependent on it."

Merkel also condemned the use of child labor and lent her support to the ILO campaign against it.

French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev also spoke on Tuesday.

Future priorities

The ILO Conference meeting of nearly 6,000 delegates until June 21 has tabled a draft treaty to protect employees from workplace abuse and drafted a Centenary Declaration setting out future priorities.

"By adopting new international labor standards to stop violence and harassment at work, this conference will ... strike a blow against abuse which should offend the basic standards of decency of each and every one of us," ILO Director-General Guy Ryder told the congress.

A worker in a South African vineyard
A worker in a South African vineyardImage: picture-alliance/Wildlife/Harpe

Delegates are looking at the future of work and reviewing a report which urges governments, employers and unions to deliver a "human-centered" agenda for decent work. The report has ten recommendations, including:

  • More investment in lifelong learning
  • Guaranteed social protection
  • Universal labour guarantee enshrining an adequate living wage
  • Maximum limits on working hours
  • Protection of safety and health at work.

"If you are an 18-year-old entering the labour market, or someone in the middle of their career facing joblessness due to technological changes, you are asking yourself some big questions right now," Ryder said. "There is a cocktail of issues that is leading to great uncertainty in the world of work and a demand for responses."

The ILO was founded in 1919 and has 187 member states. It promotes social justice and labor rights as essential elements of global peace.

jm/rc (dpa, AFP)

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