Future of Work

The Future of Work We Want: the Workers’ Perspective


Increasingly, over the last decades, there have been profound changes in the world of work in the economies across the world, both in developed and developing countries.

These changes are driven by a number of factors: globalization and technological innovation, leading to changes in production; greater inequality, polarization and exclusion within labour markets; demographic shifts, including migration; climate change; and, since 2008, economic stagnation.

There are widespread concerns regarding the impact of these social and economic transformations on workers in particular. In order to respond to this it will require a deeper reflection on the role work has in society, a task not only limited to developed countries, since these transformations manifest themselves in every country and region. Developing countries in particular will be affected by the fast-evolving relocation trends challenging them in the future.

Hence, in 2013 the International Labour Organisation launched the Future of Work Centenary Initiative. Within the initiative, ACTRAV has organized five regional conferences in order to gain greater understanding of the changes we are witnessing and to develop effective policy responses, also from a gender perspective, that may offset the negative outcomes affecting workers.

Based on the slogan “The future of work we want”, the symposium is structured around the Initiative’s four “Centenary Conversations” proposed by the Director-General. These are:
  1. Work and society;
  2. Decent jobs for all;
  3. The organization of work and production; and
  4. The governance of work.
The goal of this Symposium is to contribute to the Future of Work Centenary Initiative from a trade union perspective based on the unique issues faced by the member countries, and discussing possible policy responses both of governments and social partners as a means to promoting and protecting the rights of working men and women.


18 October 2017

08:00-09:30 Registration

09:30-10:00 Inauguration

  • Maria Helena André, Director of ILO-ACTRAV
  • Deborah Greenfield, ILO's Deputy Director-General for Policy

10:00-11:00 Special Dialogue: Setting up a future that fits everyone: giving a new role to politics

Maria Helena André, Director of ILO-ACTRAV

  • Maria Joao Rodrigues, Vice-Chair Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament
  • Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)
  • Nelson Loustaunau, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Uruguay

11:00-13:00 Dialogue 1: Work and Society

Moderator: Anna Biondi, Deputy Director of ILO-ACTRAV

  • Lais Wendel Abramo, Chief of Social Development Division, CEPAL, Chile
  • Edward Webster, Professor Emeritus, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
  • Supriya Routh, Assistant Professor, University of Victoria, Canada
  • Mthunzi Mdwaba, President of the Employers’ Group of the ILO Governing Body, South Africa
Trade unions representatives:
  • Catelene Passchier, President of the Workers’ Group of the ILO Governing Body, Netherlands
  • Hfaiedh Hfaiedh, Deputy General Secretary, UGTT, Tunisia
  • Karen Nussbaum, Co-Executive Director, Working America, USA

15:00-17:00 Dialogue 2:  Decent Work for All

Azita Berar-Awad, Director of the Employment Policy Department

  • Simone Cecchini, Senior Social Affair Officer, ECLAC, Chile
  • Tonia Novitz, Professor of Labour Law, University of Bristol, UK
  • Elena Gerasimova, Center of Social and Labour Rights, Russia; IAS-Nantes
Trade union representatives:
  • Rosa Pavanelli, General Secretary, Public Services International Global Union (PSI)
  • Anthony Baah, Secretary General, Trade Union Congress, Ghana
  • Nina Kuzmina, Deputy President, FNPR, Russia
  • Barbara Figueroa, President, CUT, Chile

19 October 2017

09:00-11:00 Dialogue 3: The Organization of Work and Production 

Moderator: Manuela Tomei, Director of the ILO's Conditions of Work and Equality Department

  • Mark Anner, Associate Professor, Labour and Employment Relations, Pennstate University, USA
  • Graciela Bensusan, Professor-Researcher, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Unidad Xochimilco, Mexico
  • Gerard Valenduc, Associate Research, ETUI, Belgium
  • Melisa Serrano, Associate Professor, University of the Philippines
Trade Union representatives:
  • Kjeld Jakobsen, Adviser, CUT, Brazil
  • Valter Sanches, General Secretary, IndustriAll
  • Trine Lise Sundnes, President HK – LO Norway (tbc)
  • Richard Wagstaff, President, NZCTU, New Zealand

11:00- 13:00 Dialogue 4: The Governance of Work

Facilitator: Moussa Oumarou, Director of ILO-Governance

  • László Andor, Professor, Dep. of Economy Policy, Corvinus University, Hungary
  • Gerhard Bosch, Professor Emeritus, Universitat Duisburg-Essen, Germany
  • Rachid Filali Meknassi, Professor, Mohammed V University, Morocco
Trade Union representatives:
  • Fernando Gambera, Secretary of International Relations, PIT-CNT, Uruguay
  • Suad Mohamed, Assistant General Secretary, GFBTU, Bahrein
  • Ayuba Wabba, President, Nigeria Labour Congress
  • Luca Visentini, General Secretary, European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), Belgium

15:00-17:00 Special Dialogue: The Agenda 2030-A Way to Promote a Future of Work

Moderator: Claude Akpokavie, Coordinator, Field Operations and Partnerships (DDG/FOP)

  • Vinicius Pinheiro, Director, ILO Office for the United Nations, New York (Video Conference)
  • Lais Wendel Abramo, Chief of Social Development Division, CEPAL, Chile
  • Rahma Iryanti, Expert staff to the Minister of National Development Planning, BAPPENAS, Indonesia (tbc)

20 October 2017

10:00-11:30 Closing

  • Maria Helena André, Director of ILO-ACTRAV
  • Luc Cortebeeck, Chairperson of the ILO Governing Body
  • Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General