Published on 13th February 2023
As the global intergovernmental organisation setting international labour standards, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) is a key stakeholder for the World Employment Confederation (WEC) and one that WEC has built a strong and long-lasting relationship with. Such cooperation is set to continue under the new leadership of Gilbert F. Houngbo, the new Director General of the ILO who took office in October 2022.
On 3 February, WEC representatives met Mr Houngbo at the ILO headquarters in Geneva. He expressed the willingness for the cooperation with WEC and its members to continue and grow and outlined a series of priority challenges that both organisations could tackle together such as: social justice; appropriate regulation of digitalisation impacts on work; supply chains risks for working conditions and workers’ rights; occupational heath and safety; Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion; informal work and just transitions to a greener economy.
The World Employment Confederation is fully aligned on the urgency of such labour market challenges and the need to address them through stakeholder cooperation – notably Public Employment Services. WEC reiterated its full commitment to the ratification of ILO Conventions 181 and 88 and its support to the ongoing ILO campaign to expand this ratification by governments across the world.
Upholding the Convention’s key principles, such as the ban fee charging to jobseekers and workers, is critical to ensure ethical deployment of private employment services – another priority for WEC. WEC reassured the ILO’s Director General that its Code of Conduct safeguards such principle and that WEC members are therefore bound to providing ethical, quality, and professional services. Nevertheless WEC agreed that there are a large number of operators worldwide outside the remit of its membership and further action is required to prevent those rogue players from abusing workers.
WEC representatives highlighted the sector’s key role in fighting informality through providing formal pathways to decent employment and in re/upskilling of workers, preparing them for the challenges linked to digitalisation and decarbonisation. WEC therefore expressed concerns regarding the increasing number of unjustified restrictions on the temporary agency work industry and called for appropriate regulation of diverse forms of work as a way to broaden labour market participation and improve its efficiency and sustainability.
The World Employment Confederation maintains a regular dialogue with ILO representatives and is part of several key meetings such as the International Labour Conference that takes place annually.