President Cyril Ramaphosa launches ILO’s Global Commission on the Future of Work report

President Ramaphosa launches ILO’s Global Commission on the Future of Work report amidst calls for a human-centred agenda for the future of work

President Cyril Ramaphosa today launched the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Global Commission on the Future of Work report that calls for a human-centred agenda for the future of work, by placing the people and the work they do at the centre of economic and social policy and business practice.

Ramaphosa said this year he ILO begins its second century of advancing social justice in the world of work and in furthering its mission to promote jobs and protect people.

He was speaking at Zimbali Lodge, near Durban, in KwaZulu-Natal to celebrate the ILO’s centenary celebrations. The ILO’s celebration of 100 years was preceded by the 45th African Regional Labour Administration Centre (ARLAC) Governing Council meeting hosted by the Department of Labour which started on Tuesday.

The ILO’s report further says that the human-centred agenda is forward-looking and focuses on developing the human capabilities needed to thrive in a carbon-neutral, digital age.

The three key pillars of human-centred agenda include: increasing investment in people’s capabilities, increasing investment in the institutions of work and increasing investment in decent and sustainable work.

Ramaphosa said: Many of the advances of the past two centuries in the world of work � be it raised wage levels, improved working hours, unemployment insurance and other worker benefits � have been thanks to the international labour standards and social protection set by the ILO.

The President said the ILO has been a force that has transformed misery and despair into hope and progress.

Inequality is rising. Millions of people around the world are in a working poverty trap. In many societies, working people still labour antiquated working conditions that have little regards to their rights, with forced indenture and even forms of servitude and bondage common.

Elsewhere, rapid technological advance has had its own consequences for workers and communities, with digitisation and mechanisation of work processes giving rise to increased insecurity and job losses, Ramaphosa said.

He warned that the impact of globalisation, demographic shifts, trade and other forms of protectionism, and climate change are bound to have consequences for future work processes.

Ramaphosa told delegates to be mindful that in the 20th century, we established that labour is not a commodity. In the 21st century, we must ensure it is not a robot.

ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder said a number of changes were bound to happen in the world of work in future. Ryder said the changes were coming not only from technological changes, but there were demographic changes caused by ageing, growth of youth and climatic changes � provoked by human activity.

He said these changes were also generated by the forward march of globalisation.

Ryder advised the countries of the 187-member organisation to put strategies on the future of work. The Director-General said the ILO’s June 2019 Parliament of Labour gathering will be a special one in which the organisation will adoption the solemn declaration on the future of work.

Source: Government of South Africa