NEW YORK (ILO News) – Social dialogue can drive productivity and sustainable business growth as well as result in better training and skills levels for employees, ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said at the launch of a new publication by the ILO, the OECD and the Global Deal secretariat.
The Thematic Brief, “Achieving Decent Work and Inclusive Growth: The Business Case for Social Dialogue”, was launched by the ILO Director-General at a Global Deal event attended by company representatives. It highlights how effective social dialogue can result in mutually beneficial outcomes for governments, businesses, workers and wider society.
“Take, for example, the case of the construction of Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport in the UK. That four billion pound investment was completed without one single working hour being lost to disputes, with a below-average level of absenteeism, and with reduced costs – all this, while preserving labour standards above the average for the industry,” Ryder said. “And that happened not by accident, but as a result of social dialogue between the unions concerned and the management that created a framework collective agreement for all the multiple producers and suppliers involved.”
The ILO Director-General also cited examples from Africa and Asia, among others, where social dialogue can result in better training and skills levels, or in a downturn can lead to negotiations on job protection in exchange for temporary reductions in working hours and salaries.
“In Sweden itself, for example, the Crisis Agreement during the last major economic downturn is estimated to have saved over 12,000 jobs, while at the same time enabling business to achieve a faster recovery and to retain more of their skilled workers,” Ryder noted.
“The Global Deal is about ensuring that more people around the world have secure and good jobs, and about a more equal distribution of our economic resources,” said Stefan Löfven, Prime Minister of Sweden. “Globalization presents opportunities, but requires a more equal distribution. More people need jobs with decent conditions and a salary they can live on. This is a prerequisite for globalization to be a positive force.”
The Global Deal is a global multi-stakeholder partnership with the objective of jointly addressing the challenges in the global labour market and enabling all people to benefit from globalization.