Report of the ILO Global Commission on the Future of Work
Main Report (published 22 January 2019)
IOE Vice-President to the ILO
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Main Report (published 22 January 2019)
On the Report of the ILO Global Commission on the Future of Work
Speech by Mthunzi Mdwaba as ex officio participant
Geneva (IOE Press Room) – The ILO Global Commission on the Future of Work launched its Report today at the International Labour Organization (ILO), marking the official start of the ILO’s Centenary year.
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Mr Mthunzi Mdwaba, the Employers’ Vice-Chairperson to the ILO Governing Body, together with the ILO Chairperson and the other Vice-Chairperson of the Governing Body, were nominated as ex officio participants. Like the other Commissioners, they worked in their personal capacities, not representing their respective groups. Nevertheless, their views were influenced by the interests they protect within the ILO Governing Body.
Given the special status of the ex officio participants and the particular role they play in the ILO Governing Body, it was decided that they would not be signatories of the final report. This was clearly expressed on page 75 of the report.
Mr Mthunzi Mdwaba, in his role as ex officio participant, made the following general remarks:
“I am honoured to have been part of this whole process. The Global Commission debates have been highly inspiring and extremely refreshing, thanks to the high calibre of the Commissioners and to the very ambitious tasks put before us.
The Report captures the complexity of the issues at stake well, by recognising the remarkable opportunities that advanced technologies offer, as well as its challenges. The Commissioners had the difficult task of presenting concrete and realistic proposals for action, to be applied across the globe and at different levels of development.
While embracing this difficult challenge, we have pooled together our strengths to visualise how to achieve our ambitions for the next century.
I believe important efforts were made to reach this objective, bearing in mind that nobody can foresee the future in 100 years. However, it must be noted that some of the recommendations are practical and forward-looking, while others are aspirational and difficult to implement in the short-term.
In particular, I strongly support the recommendations calling for a strengthening of lifelong learning and its focus on skills, the support of “people through future of work transitions”, the reinforcement of policies on gender equality; the “strengthening of social protection systems”, always with due regard to their sustainability, and the promotion of collective representation and social dialogue. These are already part of business priorities.
Despite their valuable intention, some other recommendations need further refinement and reflection. I would like to distance myself from these recommendations on establishing an “Universal Labour Guarantee” and on the “expansion of time sovereignty” because of the unfeasibility of such proposals and their lack of clarity in terms of possible means of financing. Likewise,the recommendation on “setting an international governance system for digital labour platforms that sets and requires platforms and their clients to respect certain minimum rights and protection” is highly challenging.
With regards to the recommendation on reshaping business incentive structures for the implementation of the human-centred agenda, there is no accompanying proposal for establishing incentives for businesses to thrive in the future and invest in technology.
Moreover, there is no acknowledgement of the positive role of the private sector for the future of work, its ability and potential to contribute to moving those from informality to formality through the gig economy; to generate production and employment through technological progress; to create global networks and platforms; to collaborate with universities and other educational institutions to promote innovation; and to develop training methods and curricula; and in spite of concrete suggestions and texts offered on this very important aspect.
Additionally, the Report is addressed to Governments, Workers’ and Employers’ organisations, companies, individuals and civil society in general. The audience is clear; however, the recommendations require actions mainly from Governments and companies, thus leaving aside all other stakeholders in what could have been an occasion to develop their own responsibilities and play an active role in the future of work.
To conclude, the Report serves as a valuable input to start the debate in the 2019 International Labour Conference and we look forward to starting the negotiations on the outcome document which will define how ILO members and the ILO as an institution should harness the opportunities and face the challenges of the future of work”.
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