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World Day for Social Justice

Ryder: Social justice, the smart solution to economic recovery

On World Day for Social Justice, ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, called on governments, employers and workers to tackle rising inequalities and step up the global struggle for social justice.

News | 20 February 2013
ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder
GENEVA (ILO News) – ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, has called for “smart social policies” to tackle the global economic recovery which, he said, hangs in the balance.

“Tipping that balance towards sustainable growth and development means tackling social injustice,” he said, in a statement marking World Day for Social Justice.

According to Ryder, “the world of work is now at the centre of discontent and must be an integral part in shaping a different, more just, global order for the future.”

Ryder underlined his argument by referring to the dismal global situation the world of work is facing: 200 million unemployed, a further 870 million working poor, some 74 million unemployed youth, persisting child and forced labour and more than half of the world population having no social security at all.

“With full employment, the interdependent world economy would perform much better,” he said.

“Yet, as things stand, there is a serious danger of resorting to “beggar-thy-neighbour” policies such as trade protection and competitive currency devaluation, as well as wage cuts and retrenchment.”

These trends “could leave everybody worse off, with economies weakening, deficits widening and social inequalities deepening,” he stressed.

The ILO Director-General did, however, highlight some encouraging signs.

“Some of the world’s most unequal societies are stepping up to the challenge of implementing smart social policies that are also an investment in a people-centred recovery.”

He mentioned developing countries in Asia and Latin America investing in stronger social protection floors and minimum wage systems. Such policies would help to narrow social gaps and stop the world economy from slipping into a double-dip recession.