As it celebrates its centenary year, the International Labour Organization (ILO) must help to tackle inequality in the world of work through the efforts of its 180-plus members, said Director-General Guy Ryder on Wednesday
The ILO chief’s message coincides with the launch of an interactive campaign promoting the work of the organization.
Founded by 44 countries in the aftermath of the First World War, the organization’s mission was to address growing and potentially explosive discontent with poor working conditions in Europe.
Today, that objective is shared by ILO’s 187 Member States, Mr Ryder maintained, in a statement to mark 100 years since the body was founded on 6 June, 1919.
Noting that the nature of work “has changed out of all recognition” in many parts of the world since 1919, thanks in large part to technological advances, Mr Ryder warned that many people have not seen the benefits.
“Hopes and fears are unevenly distributed,” he said. “Uncertainty is high and the levels of trust are all too low. And this tells us that the ILO centenary matters. It matters to us all, whatever the country you live in.”
From the number of hours we work to the principle of a fair wage and protection for injured or sick workers, these and many other social benefits and workplace rights that people from many nations take for granted, are the fruit of ILO’s intervention on the global stage.
Its work to improve labour laws and standards worldwide is symbolized by a triple-locking gate at its former headquarters in Geneva – now the home of the World Trade Organization (WTO) – whose keys are marked separately with each partner: governments, workers and employers.
Video : The ILO Centenary – Why it matters to us all