Social Summit for Fair Jobs and Growth

European Pillar of Social Rights central to an equitable future of work

ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, says the Pillar provides a framework for building a world of work that is fair and inclusive, during his speech to the Social Summit for Fair jobs and Growth in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Statement | Gothenburg | 17 November 2017
Together with the gradual improvement in European labour markets the world is seeing rapid and transformative change in all aspects of work.

Indeed changing realities in working lives are often running ahead of the capacity of policy makers and social partners to come up with the right institutional responses.

Hence the great importance of the issues being addressed in Gothenburg today. Inevitably change dispenses opportunities and risks unequally, with those already best-placed in work generally doing still better, and those who may already be struggling less so. And skills and education are generally the key distinctive factor.

And so acting to ensure fair and decent conditions for all is both a key to tackling the dangers of deepening inequality at work but also of building the conditions for innovation-driven economic and enterprise success and the highly-motivated and educated workforce on which that depends.

The challenge is all the greater because of the rapidly growing diversification of the way work is done. The full-time permanent employment relationship may still predominate in Europe, but other contractual and payment arrangements are growing. That increases the risk of segments of the workforce becoming trapped in conditions of permanent insecurity, moving from one short-term engagement to the next.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the international community has grasped the sense of urgency: the United Nations Agenda for Sustainable Development sets reduced inequality, inclusive and sustainable growth and decent work for all as priority objectives to be attained worldwide by the year 2030.

The broader debate today concerns the future of work that we want, the topic that is at the heart of the ILO’s own 2019 Centenary Initiative. Europe has traditionally been in the forefront when it comes to finding progressive solutions to societal changes and challenges, and today’s Proclamation of the European Pillar of Social Rights is very much in line with that. The Pillar provides a framework for building a world of work that is fair and inclusive, guided by principles that resonate with the ILO’s own founding values: 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. More than ever before, these values must continue to unite not only the EU and its Member States but also the ILO and the international community.