Thursday, April 21, 2011

This June Geneva will see the 100th Session of the International Labour Conference, the supreme authority of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) which is the only specialised UN agency building on the principles of tripartism with the participation of governments, employers and trade unions.

One hundred annual conferences is a worthy measure to assess the viability of an international organisation, its relevance to the world community, and the durability and continuity of its traditions. Having passed through the Second World War, the arduous post-war development, and the “cold war”, the ILO has remained true to its tasks and objectives and entered the era of globalism as an active advocate, architect and vehicle of social dialogue.

The Commonwealth trade unions welcome the fact that the Organisation has recently set course for an in-depth investigation of social problems crucial for labour relations in the context of globalisation. One major result of this policy was the adoption of the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (1998) and the Decent Work Agenda for All (1999) that were highly acclaimed by the United Nations and actively supported by the world trade union movement, including trade unions in CIS countries. The development and analysis of these and other problems have placed the ILO among the major actors of today’s world development practically assigning it the leading role in the efforts to add a social dimension to globalisation.

The GCTU is particularly appreciative of the ILO’s ability to react promptly to novel world developments. Thus, it challenged the increased influence of TNCs with adopting the Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy. Responding to the rapid progress of economic globalisation, it set up the high-level World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalisation that prepared a fundamentally important paper on this topical issue. This was followed by the approval, in 2008, of the ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalisation providing creative interpretation and development of the Philadelphia Declaration principles with regard to the imperatives of our times. The paramount role of employment in overcoming the consequences of the world financial and economic crisis was embodied in the Global Jobs Pact adopted by the ILO in June 2009.

We are positive, however, that the setting and adopting of international labour standards must remain the principal line of ILO activity, as it has always been. The impressive collection of ILO conventions and recommendations has long become the desk book of every trade unionist, a kind of world labour code with which to check national legislation.
The GCTU is satisfied that, after a certain decrease, the Organisation’s standard-setting activity is today coming back on track. Its revitalisation is necessitated by the emergence of several problems that are not regulated or poorly regulated by the international labour standards. This relates, first of all, to the growing spread of atypical employment and agency contract labour, and the increased number of people employed in the informal economy. The problems of regulating labour relations and establishing social dialogue at the global level have long been waiting for their solutions. Above all, this concerns transnational corporations as before our very eyes they are turning into the dominating employer, and their role in the world market keeps growing.
The GCTU and its affiliated organisations spare no efforts to get all fundamental and several other important ILO conventions ratified and observed by the CIS countries. With this purpose in view, for the last six years we have been monitoring this process throughout the region.

On the eve of the jubilee session of the International Labour Conference, the GCTU Council expresses its high appreciation of all aspects of the ILO activity, and confirms the willingness of the trade union movement in the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States to make their tangible contributions to its work. In particular, we intend to promote further intensification of the ILO’s standard-setting activity, and the upgrading and improvement of its instruments, in accordance with the challenges and realities of today’s world.

Simultaneously, the Council of the GCTU calls on the governments of the CIS countries to send full-fledged delegations to the 100th Session of the ILC, involving delegates of the most representative organisations of trade unions and employers in their respective countries. This will help ensure not only the proper level and effect of this important forum, but also the success of the Governing Body elections.

Moscow, 8 April 2011