Tripartite Meeting to Examine the Impact of Global Food Chains on Employment

A Tripartite Meeting to examine the impact of global food chains on employment was held at the International Labour Office, Geneva, from 24 to 27 September 2007. The Meeting was attended by Government representatives from 24 member States: Angola, Argentina, Austria, Brazil, China, France, Gabon, Islamic Republic of Iran, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mali, Nigeria, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and Zimbabwe, as well as 16 Employer and 17 Worker representatives.

The Office had prepared an issues paper, which served as a basis for the discussion. It highlighted some employment trends around the world in the food and drink industry, the rise of retailers as they gain more control over global supply chains as well as consumer information; further company concentration which in turn has repercussions at the level of processors, manufacturers and seed suppliers, who cluster even further to supply mass-produced, uniform products at margins acceptable to such firms.

The Meeting focused essentially on five themes: how recent trends in employment in the food and drink processing sector are influenced by the growth and development of global food chains; the impact of global supply chain management on employment and work organization; future skills requirements; social dialogue and global food chains; and future ILO activities for the food and drink sector. The Meeting adopted conclusions that included proposals for action by governments, workers and employers’ organizations and the ILO, and a report of its discussions.