ILO welcomes renewed EU focus on decent work worldwide for a just transition and a sustainable recovery

The European Commission has adopted a Communication on decent work worldwide, which sets out how the EU will act upon the challenges linked to a just green and digital transition and a sustainable recovery from the pandemic.

News | 23 February 2022
The ILO welcomes the adoption by the European Commission of its Communication on decent work worldwide for a global just transition and a sustainable recovery. The Communication reaffirms the European Union’s commitment to champion human rights, including the well-being of workers, both at home and abroad. It sends a strong signal that the EU intends to strengthen its role as responsible leader on promoting decent work worldwide.

The Communication is timely and very relevant in the current context. According to ILO research, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated income and labour market inequalities and disproportionately affected women and vulnerable groups such as young people and workers in the informal economy. Meanwhile, the world of work is experiencing transformative change, driven by technological innovations, demographic shifts, climate change and globalization.

The Communication sets out how the European Union will act upon these challenges, putting the promotion of decent work worldwide at the heart of a just green and digital transition of the economy and an inclusive, sustainable and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. This approach is in line with the ILO Global Call to Action for a Human-centred Recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.

“Europe has often sought to find progressive solutions to societal changes and challenges. Our longstanding cooperation and partnership with the European Commission is very valuable and guided by common values and the conviction that prosperity must be shared, that human and labour rights underpin human dignity, and that social dialogue is an indispensable ingredient for social justice and fairness at work” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder. “The ILO stands ready to work with the EU to ensure that the Communication on Decent Work Worldwide effectively promotes decent work for all.”

The EU’s comprehensive approach to promote decent work is aligned with the universal concept of decent work as developed by the ILO. It pursues the four mutually reinforcing objectives of promoting employment, standards and rights at work, social protection and social dialogue. Gender equality and non-discrimination are cross-cutting issues in relation to these four objectives. The EU supports the efforts to integrate the right to safe and healthy working conditions into the ILO framework on fundamental principles and rights at work.

The Communication provides a broad overview of the various instruments the EU mobilises in the context of this agenda, including the proposal for a Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive that is adopted together with this Communication.

It underlines the crucial importance of the fundamental ILO Conventions which have been ratified by all EU Member States and which feature prominently in numerous free trade agreements concluded by the Union, as well as in the EU’s public procurement Directives.

The document announces increased efforts to combat forced labour and child labour and the preparation of a new legislative initiative to ban products made by forced labour from entering the EU market. The European Commission will also take the necessary steps to become a partner of the Alliance 8.7 for the elimination of child labour, forced labour and human trafficking.