Social Protection

Workers at helm of social protection reforms in new ILO initiative

Representatives from national trade union confederations are teaming up with regional and global advocates to defend and promote social protection for the world’s workers.

Press release | Geneva, Switzerland | 24 October 2017
GENEVA – Labour leaders from national trade union confederations across different continents have joined forces with the International Labour Office (ILO) and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) to meet for discussing the “Social Protection, Freedom and Justice for Workers Network” on 24 October in Geneva.

The network will seek to defend social entitlements and funding for social services facing cuts by austerity measures around the world. Members of the network will also promote the expansion of social protection to cover more people and more risks faced by workers back home, including benefits for workers’ in times of sickness or unemployment.

“Workers’ organisations are actually very effective at advocating for social protection,” said Luis Cotinguiba of the ILO’s Social Protection Department. “They are also critical for the monitoring and governance of social security systems to ensure that benefit rules are transparent and the benefits themselves are accessible to the population.”

The network gathered for the first time to decide upon the way forward. It will carry out case studies where workers have mobilized to support and monitor social protection programmes. It will also facilitate the exchange of experiences and learning resources among participants via an online platform. During Tuesday’s meeting, trade union representatives welcomed the efforts, and recognized important role workers have played in advancing social protection in their regions.

“The adoption of [ILO’s Convention on minimum standards of social security] by countries such as Argentina and the Dominican Republic is partly thanks to the advocacy carried out by trade unions in Latin America,” said Carolina Dantas of the Trade Union Confederation of Americas (TUCA).

Rafael Peels of the ILO Bureau for Workers’ Activities stressed that “ILO Recommendation 202 on Social Protection Floors is a key instrument as it underlines the importance of social dialogue from design, implementation to monitoring.”

The Social Protection, Freedom and Justice for Workers Network is part of the ILO’s Flagship Programme on Building Social Protection Floors for All, which aims to establish at least basic income guarantees and essential health care for citizens and residents. The ILO is a tripartite institution representing governments, workers’ and employers’ organizations. It supports the development of national social protection systems in countries with support from local and international workers’ representatives.

Begun in 2016, the Flagship Programme seeks to cover 400 million additional individuals in target countries with benefits before the year 2030, the same deadline for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

For more information, please contact:

Rafael Peels
Specialist in Workers ‘Activities
Tel: +41 22 799 6166