UN labour agency calls for ‘decent work’ in inclusive and equitable globalization
The Governing Body of the United Nations labour agency has ended its latest session with a call for an inclusive and equitable globalization ensuring decent work, condemnation of Myanmar’s actions with regard to forced labour and concern over the situation in Nepal, Guatemala, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.
The Governing Body of the International Labour Organization (ILO), concluding its 292nd session last week in Geneva, also recommended a provisional programme and budget level of $568.6 million for the 2006-07 biennium.
Governing Body Chairman Philippe Séguin said the Working Party on the Social Dimension of Globalization had reached a “clear and strong consensus” on the promotion of decent work as a global goal as the ILO’s distinctive contribution to a fair globalization.
The Working Party agreed that the agency should strengthen its partnerships with the other multilateral agencies to develop more coherent policies, particularly the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Trade Organization (WTO), to ensure a fully inclusive and equitable globalization.
It called for the preparation of a paper on the linkages between growth, investment and decent work to be presented to the Governing Body in November.
On Myanmar, many delegates shared a sense of “condemnation over the failure of the highest-level authorities” to take advantage of the visit of a high-level ILO team in February to resume a credible dialogue on the issue of forced labour.
While noting that some developments “seem to a number of us to go in the right direction, in particular the prosecutions and punishment of authorities responsible for having recourse to forced labour,” the delegates noted that “the overall assessment falls far short of our expectations.”
The Governing Body said it was widely felt that the “wait-and-see” attitude which has prevailed since 2001 can no longer continue and unanimously decided to transmit its conclusions to the Governments, Employers and Workers representatives with a view to taking appropriate action under a resolution of 2000 calling on ILO constituents and other agencies to take action they consider appropriate with regard to the South Asian country.
Noting that trade union activities had been severely limited in Nepal, with the arrest and detention of trade unionists and significant prohibitions on the right to strike, the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association called on the Government to ensure that its actions were limited to prohibiting strikes in essential services and to resort to force only where law and order is seriously threatened.
The Committee also examined serious allegations of violence against trade unionists and dismissal of union leaders in Guatemala and underlined the gravity of allegations of assaults, death threats and intimidation of trade union members and attacks on trade union headquarters.
With regard to Venezuela, the Committee called on the Government to refrain from interfering in trade union elections, recalling that they should be exclusively a matter for the organizations concerned and that the power to suspend elections should be given only to an independent judiciary.
On Zimbabwe, the Committee requested the Government launch independent inquiries into allegations of anti-union dismissals aimed at high-level trade union officers. Noting an atmosphere of intimidation and fear prejudicial to the normal development of trade union activities, it expressed its overall deep concern with the extreme seriousness of the general trade union climate in Zimbabwe.