The Director-General of the International Labour Organization, Guy Ryder, warned of ‘heightened tension in the world’ as he addressed the opening of the 107th session of the International Labour Conference (ILC). He urged delegates to show “the spirit of tripartism, compromise, and consensus,” which, he said, is a “precondition of success for the Conference and of the ILO.”
Ryder spoke of the growing challenge to international cooperation through multilateralism. Referring to “a new brutalism” in the world, he expressed his firm belief “that our Organization and our Conference must be a bulwark against such contagion, by its own conduct and by the results it achieves.” In this environment, he said, the Conference discussion on social dialogue is timely and an opportunity to sharpen it as an instrument for dealing with the transformations taking place in the world of work.
On workplace violence and harassment, the Director-General called on delegates to open “the way for guarantees of workplaces entirely free of violence and harassment.” Underscoring the need for action against all forms of violence and harassment at work, including sexual harassment – which has been brought into sharp focus by the ‘Me Too’ campaign – he encouraged delegates to produce results which will really make the difference: “Our answer to the ever more vocal call for action must be ‘Us Too’”, he said. During the Conference, a committee of workers, employers and government representatives will hold a first discussion on possible new standards to fight violence and harassment at work.
Looking ahead, Ryder announced a major report to be published by the Global Commission on the Future of Work early next year, adding that “the future of work also means the future of the ILO.”