International Journal of Labour Research

Workers’ organizations must play key role in developing effective and sustainable social contract

The 2023 edition of the International Journal of Labour Research aims to stimulate reflection on what a new social contract might address and more specifically the role of workers’ organizations in engaging in this debate within the multilateral system and at national level.

Press release | 15 December 2023

GENEVA (ILO News) – A new social contract must be anchored in decent work and social justice, with special attention given to the promotion and implementation of International labour standards, according to the latest edition of the International Journal of Labour Research.

“A new social contract: achieving social justice in an era of accelerating change”, outlines the urgency and growing consensus from multiple actors, to reinvigorate a new social contract to respond effectively to multiple transformations in the world work and growing decent work deficits and inequalities around the world. The journal is published by the Bureau for Workers Activities (ACTRAV) at the International Labour Organization (ILO).

“The debate on the new social contract is not new. In addition to multiple factors, such as climate and technological changes, the growth of inequalities and decent work deficits has accelerated the deterioration of social cohesion, with consequences including geopolitical tensions and the decline of democracy in many parts of the world,” said Maria Helena Andre, Director of ACTRAV. “Therefore, there is a growing consensus and urgency for the reinvigoration of the social contract at national and global levels.”

“The new social contract has to be reflective of the foundations of existing labour institutions and how they may be adapted to new and emerging realities we are facing today. As the largest membership-based organization in the world and a crucial constituent of the International Labour Organization, workers ’organizations need to continue their advocacy to develop an effective and sustainable social contract which reflects the changing realities in the world of work” she added.

This year’s International Journal of Labour Research aims to stimulate reflection on what a new social contract might address and more specifically the role of workers’ organizations in engaging in this debate within the multilateral system and at national level.

The journal calls for the promotion and implementation of international labour standards as a centrepiece of the new social contract, with a key role to be played by workers’ organizations.

It recommends strengthening social dialogue, ensuring global solidarity and the creation of decent jobs for all through coordinated and coherent pro-employment, macroeconomic, sectoral, industrial, skills, social protection policies. The new social contract should be underscored by a vision that places the reduction of inequalities at the heart of both economic and social progress and is based on the ILO’s fundamental principles and rights at work.

About the International Journal of Labour Research

The International Journal of Labour Research (IJLR) is the flagship publication of the Bureau for Workers’ Activities of the ILO. A multidisciplinary journal, the IJLR is a vehicle for dissemination of international research on labour, economic, and sustainable development policies. Its target readership includes workers’ organizations, practitioners, researchers, labour ministries and academics in all disciplines relevant to ILO constituents in the world of work – industrial relations, sociology, law, economics, and political science. The IJLR is published in English, French and Spanish, and each issue focuses on a specific theme.