The International Labour Organization (ILO) has concluded a landmark event on the future of work with a strong call on the global community to make social dialogue between governments and the social partners a key instrument for building a world of work that leaves no one behind.
Summing up the two day meeting, ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said that “the future of work must be inspired by considerations of humanity, of social justice and peace. If it is not, we are going to a dark place, we are going to a dangerous place.”
“We now need to transform our thinking into results, into concrete outcomes,” he added. “We need to address the concerns of that young person, wondering if there is a future of work for them.”
The Global Dialogue: The Future of Work We Want brought together leading economists, academics and representatives of governments and the social partners (employers’ and workers’ organizations) to discuss the profound changes sweeping the world of work. More than 700 participants attended the event in Geneva with many thousands joining and participating via the internet and social media.
Among the participants was Lord Robert Skidelsky, from the University of Warwick in the UK, who acted as the keynote speaker at the event, and who said that international solutions are needed to harmonize the process of adaptation to the future of work:
“We can’t leave it all to the market. We can’t stop innovation but we can manage it,” he added.
The event also featured a special session on how to shape the future of work for youth, with a particular focus on the transition from school to work, the organization of the world of work and its regulation.
He reminded the audience that the future of work was a global issue that merited a global response, but also one that requires “taking into consideration the diverse circumstances of our 187 member States” and the importance of sharing experiences among them.
The head of the ILO emphasized the need to promote innovation and development, at the same time as maintaining the Organization’s social objectives.
The Global Dialogue was part of a broader ILO Centenary Initiative to investigate the future of work and better understand the drivers of unprecedented change, including technological innovation, the organization of work and production, globalization, climate change, migration and demography, among others.
The initiative is seeking to broadly canvas the views of key actors in the world of work on all of these issues.
More than 167 countries have taken part in the ILO initiative so far, with 107 of them participating in national and regional dialogues that have been or are being held all around the world.
Their conclusions will help inform a High Level Global Commission on the Future of Work, to be established by the ILO later this year. The report of the Commission will feed into discussions at the 2019 International Labour Conference.