Conference calls for recovery focused on jobs
Unions call for concrete action following the International Labour Organization and the International Monetary Fund conference on employment.
NORWAY: The heads of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Labour Organization (ILO), along with other leaders, called on September 13 during the Oslo Conference for a broad international commitment to a jobs-focused policy response to the global economic downturn.
"When growth is not fair, it becomes unsustainable," said ILO Director-General Juan Somavia at the conference. "This has been the overriding lesson of the crisis. High levels of employment creation should be a key macroeconomic objective alongside low inflation and sustainable budgets."
Commenting on the outcome, ITUC general secretary Sharan Burrow, who led a delegation of labour leaders at the conference, called on the ILO and the International Monetary Fund to follow through on the promise to work together more closely in favour of a job-centred recovery by quickly undertaking action in specific areas that were dominant topics at the conference.
"The ILO should be fully integrated into the G20's Mutual Assessment Process, for example, such that national policies are analyzed and recommendations made for supporting progressive taxation, quality public services, expanded collective bargaining and improved workers' protection, including respect for core labour standards. Among other things, it is important that wage increases keep up with productivity rises, so as to stop the decline in the share of income going to labour," said Burrow.
The ILO estimates that unemployment is up by more than 30 million worldwide since 2007. The increase in unemployment in advanced economies has been particularly severe, but the crisis also has hit emerging market and developing economies.
The International Monetary Fund and ILO agreed at the conference to work together on policy development in two specific areas:
- Explore the concept of a social protection floor for people living in poverty and in vulnerable situations, within the context of a medium- to long-term framework of sustainable macroeconomic policies and strategies for development, and
- Focus on policies to promote employment-creating growth.
The two institutions agreed to continue and deepen their cooperation in support of the G20 and its Mutual Assessment Process aimed at ensuring strong, sustained and balanced global growth. The Oslo Conference website is: http://www.osloconference2010.org/.Sep 16, 2010 – Valter Bittencourt