OATUU partakes in plenary sitting of 109th Session of ILC

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The Organisation of African Trade Union Unity (OATUU) has participated in the plenary sitting of the 109th Session of the International Labour Conference. The virtual conference took place on the 7th of June, 2021, hosting various participants and speakers from across the globe. The Director-General of the ILO Secretariat, Guy Ryder, set the session in motion with his opening remarks, in which he acknowledged the diverse challenges the pandemic had unveiled. According to him, the pandemic has highlighted several issues in the world of work that require immediate attention, such as the necessity of lifelong learning in workplaces. Looking forward, Mr. Ryder stressed on the ILO’s commitment to promoting a human-centered recovery, which would use the ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work as its blueprint.

The Chairperson of the Governing Body of the ILO, Mr. Apurva Chandra also expressed his hope that the Governing body and the Secretariat would continue to work together to build robust labour standards that would regulate the world of work in these unprecedented times. Touching on the issue of ratification of ILO’s conventions, he highlighted the fact that the ratification of several conventions by member countries were quite low and therefore called on the organisation to interrogate the cause of this phenomenon. He also proposed that the organisation considers making its conventions flexible enough to accommodate the differing dynamics in various member countries that often prove to be a roadblock in the pursuit of labour standardization.

Chairperson of the Employer’s Group, Ms. Renate Hornung-Draus also followed with her remarks, describing this year’s ILC as “a defining moment for tripartism”.  According to Ms. Hornung-Draus, consensus building and social dialogue are essential tools in the task of finding solutions to the numerous challenges in the world of work. On behalf of the employer’s group, she expressed a solid commitment to the focused implementation of ILO’s centenary declaration and also seized the opportunity to encourage governments to create an enabling environment for private sector growth. She also said that social protection must anticipate new realities in the world.

Representing workers, the chairperson of the worker’s group, Ms. Catalene Passchier congratulated various sections of the group for their contribution to the economy and the world at large, in these pandemic-stricken times. She emphasized that any recovery program the organisation would embark on, should be rights-based, while acknowledging that it was the time to call for tripartite action to stimulate a job-rich and inclusive economy which pays particular attention to precarious jobs. On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, she said that the key to achieving lasting peace was to end Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands. She also touched on the importance of vaccine equity, saying that the disparity in access to vaccines between the global north and global south poses a grave threat to sustainable and equitable recovery across the globe.