The 111th Session of the International Labour Conference: A shared commitment to achieving greater social justice

Keywords : Newsletters Climate Change And Environment Structural Transformation For Africa’s Development

The 111th session of the International Labour Conference began yesterday, Monday 5 June, in Geneva, bringing together delegates representing workers, employers and governments from 187 member countries of the International Labour Organization (ILO). These delegates included the leaders of African trade union organisations affiliated to ITUC-Africa.

This year’s conference focuses on three key themes: a just transition to sustainable and inclusive economies, quality apprenticeships and worker protection. These issues are of paramount importance to workers, and even more so on the African continent, where rapid economic growth and environmental challenges require a balanced approach to ensure the prosperity and well-being of workers.

In his opening remarks, ILO Director-General Gilbert Houngbo stressed the need to do everything possible to promote social justice for all. This vision has also inspired the initiative of a Global Coalition for Social Justice, which aims to bring together all actors of good will from the world of work, but also from the United Nations system, international financial institutions, multilateral development banks, the private sector, civil society, academia and bilateral agencies, in order to galvanise everyone’s efforts towards greater social justice.
"In the short term, we want to raise the political debate on the need to systematically integrate the social agenda into all these major international, regional and local meetings. Between now and the end of the year, we want to work together to identify the key issues on which we need to focus these additional efforts", he said.
The just transition to sustainable economies will be at the heart of the debates. Participants recognise the urgent need to adopt policies and practices that promote environmental sustainability while preserving existing jobs and creating new opportunities. Trade union organisations stresses the importance of ensuring that this transition is inclusive, guarantees the protection of workers’ rights and promotes the creation of decent jobs.

At the same time, the issue of quality apprenticeships is essential to meet the needs of a rapidly changing global workforce. Access to quality education is essential to ensure the employability of workers, but also to promote innovation and productivity by focusing on the acquisition of skills adapted to the realities of the labour market.
Worker protection also remains a major concern for trade unions. As new models of work emerge, such as the digital economy and work platforms, it is vital to ensure the safety, rights and decent working conditions of all workers. ITUC-Africa stresses the need to develop policies that respond to these new realities, while preserving the gains of the trade union movement, such as freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining.

Over the next few days, delegates will continue to discuss these issues and seek concrete solutions to promote sustainable, people-centred development.

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