UN labour agency welcomes European Union decision to promote decent work for all

UN labour agency welcomes European Union decision to promote decent work for all

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Despite recent years of global growth, the world is not generating enough decent jobs to keep pace with a 40 million annual increase in the labour market, a senior official from the United Nations labour agency has warned, as he welcomed a European Union (EU) initiative promoting employment.

The UN International Labour Organization (ILO) said the recent decision by the European Council of Ministers to adopt a set of conclusions promoting decent work in the EU and worldwide was the latest move strengthening links between the ILO’s Decent Work Agenda and the regional body.

“Europe is showing leadership on a crucial issue at a crucial time. That leadership – and a stronger partnership between the EU and the ILO – is critical to making decent work a global reality,” said Friedrich Buttler, ILO Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia at a conference on “Promoting Decent Work in the World: the Contribution of the EU” organized by the European Commission in Brussels from 4-5 December.

“The harsh reality is that despite five years of relatively strong economic performance, the world is not generating enough decent jobs to keep pace with a 40 million annual increase in the global labour force or substantially reduce unemployment and working poverty,” he said.

“This is a tragic waste of human lives and has many troubling implications for our societies,” Mr. Buttler said, noting that unemployment in Europe was “disturbingly high” at 17 million – especially among youth under the age of 25 – while half the world’s workers were unable to rise above the $2 per person, per day poverty line.

The European Council Conclusions on Decent Work for All, which was adopted last Friday, will involve the EU as part of a global strategy on decent work for all, the ILO said. In 2005, the UN World Summit gave strong support to the goal of full and productive employment and decent work for all as part of global efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals – a set of time-bound targets to slash poverty and other social ills.