ILO-IMF Conference on Employment: Concrete Action Must Follow Announcement of Good Intentions

ILO-IMF Conference on Employment: Concrete Action Must Follow Announcement of Good Intentions

At a conference on the theme “The Challenges of Growth, Employment and Social Cohesion”, held in Oslo, Norway, on 13 September, the International Labour Organisation and the International Monetary Fund agreed to engage in joint work to develop policies that promote employment-creating growth and “to explore the concept of a social protection floor for people living in poverty and in vulnerable situations”.

ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow, who was one of the speakers at the conference, called on the ILO and the IMF to follow through on the promise to work together more closely in favour of a job-centred recovery by quickly undertaking action in specific areas that were dominant topics at the conference.

Sharan Burrow noted that several speakers identified growing inequality and declining labour share of national incomes as a root cause of the global economic crisis. She suggested that this issue should be taken up in IMF-led processes through closer joint work with the ILO: “The ILO should be fully integrated into the G20’s Mutual Assessment Process, for example, such that national policies are analysed and recommendations made for supporting progressive taxation, quality public services, expanded collective bargaining and improved workers’ protection, including respect for core labour standards. Among other things, it is important that wage increases keep up with productivity rises, so as to stop the decline in the share of income going to labour.”

“Additionally, in the face of the persisting global employment deficit, the IMF should encourage countries, including those that borrow from the Fund, to adopt and maintain job-intensive stimulus policies until recovery is self-sustaining and unemployment is falling to pre-crisis levels,” said Burrow.

Four heads of state or government, the heads of the ILO and IMF, seven government ministers, twenty-five trade union leaders, and several academics and employers were among who took part in the conference, which was hosted by the Norwegian government.

To read the final communiqué issued by the ILO and the IMF

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