Income Inequality

Trade unions to discuss income inequality at ILO meeting

Trade union leaders, ILO experts and scholars from around the globe will analyse the impact that high levels of income inequality are having on workers worldwide.

Press release | Geneva | 10 December 2013
GENEVA - The ILO Bureau for Workers’ Activities (ACTRAV) is organizing an international symposium on Income Inequality, Labour Market Institutions and Workers’ Power from 10 to 13 December at the ILO’s headquarters in Geneva.

Trade Unions leaders, ILO experts and outside scholars will discuss ideas, experiences and strategies to move towards more equitable and inclusive societies.

”According to the background report we prepared for this meeting, high levels of inequality have a consistently negative impact on key welfare indicators, such as life expectancy, literacy, infant mortality, homicides, mental illness and social mobility of workers,” said Maria Helena Andre, Director of ACTRAV. “The purpose of this year’s symposium is to reflect on the root causes of these growing inequalities and on what can be done to overcome them.”

The report, titled The Challenge of Inequality: Time for Change, also shows also that the labour movement faces an enormous challenge to translate public calls for more equality into real political pressure. It proposes the creation of an alliance of the bottom 40 per cent low-income and 50 per cent middle-income earners against the top 10 per cent income group, which has increased its income share in nearly all societies.

“We will discuss the role of the global trade union movement in creating such an alliance and making the changes that are needed. We will also see how trade unions can use better the ILO for effectively combating inequality, and what new avenues the ILO needs to explore in order to tackle this big challenge ahead of us,” Andre said.

The discussions during the symposium will contribute to the elaboration of an action plan that will include the three dimensions of inequality addressed: Drivers of inequality and its impact on society; policy areas and trade union strategies to combat inequality; and the role and potential of the ILO to support trade unions in their efforts to reduce inequality.

For more information, please contact:

Mamadou Kaba Souare, Communications Officer, ILO Bureau for Workers’ Activities- Geneva,
+41 22 799 74 08,