International Labour Conference 2009: World leaders support ILO “Global Jobs Pact”

The Pact received strong support from heads of State and government, vice-presidents, ministers of labour, workers and employers and other economic and labour leaders participating in an ILO Jobs Summit on 15–17 June. The summit provided a first-of-its-kind opportunity to discuss policies that are being implemented at national and international levels to address the global jobs crisis.

“We have to face the fact that, according to ILO figures, there are going to be 45 million newcomers on the labour market every year, and this poses a serious threat in terms of unemployment and social unrest in the years ahead.”

H.E. Mr Lech Kaczynski, President of the Republic of Poland

“Finland offers its support for the Global Jobs Pact initiative which addresses the immediate needs of workers, their families and enterprises. It is important that governments and social partners work closely together in implementing the initiative.”

H.E. Ms Tarja Halonen, President of the Republic of Finland

“The international financial crisis could have very negative repercussions on the labour market, thereby destabilizing our societies. We have full confidence that the ILO, as the main repository of specialist knowledge in labour matters, will be able to lead us in developing actions to reduce the negative impact of the crisis”.

H.E. Mr Armando Guebuza, President of the Republic of Mozambique

“At a time when so many paradigms are disintegrating, the ILO represents a ‘reserve’, in political, ethical and moral terms. This can be seen from the proposal for the Global Jobs Pact presented here by the ILO’s Director-General. This document contains important contributions for developing a new model that will result in fewer concentrations of wealth, more solidarity, and greater humanity and fairness.”

H.E. Mr Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, President of the Federative Republic of Brazil

“The revolution I am urging all of us to embark upon is based on the idea that the specialized agencies can participate in international disputes, notably trade disputes, on the basis of harmed interests. Let us create this new global governance so that the ILO can make its voice heard in the WTO, the IMF and the World Bank, as soon as its fundamental standards are threatened.”

H.E. Mr Nicolas Sarkozy, President of the French Republic

“When you listen to people saying that 50 million jobs have been lost this year, it is not enough just to agree how dreadful it is. It is not just the figure that is important: it is the losses and destruction that have been caused to individuals and to families. It means 50 million people who are living on their wits and nothing else. These are the people we have to think about when we hear people talking pure economics or statistics.”

H.E. Ms Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, President of the Argentine Republic

“Today, thanks to the ILO’s ability to confront boldly the many challenges which have marked its history, the promotion of Decent Work as the principal vehicle of social progress is no longer considered an economic risk, but rather as a sine qua non of sustainable development.”

H.E. Mr Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé, President of the Togolese Republic

“Burkina Faso … supports the proposal of the Director-General of the ILO to adopt a Global Jobs Pact, which places employment and social protection at the very heart of measures to give a fresh boost to the economy and bring us out of the crisis – for, if it is not resolved, we shall find ourselves facing a major social crisis.”

H.E. Mr Tertius Zongo, Prime Minister of Burkina Faso

“In the race to achieve prosperity, we must not see ourselves as competing against each other; rather, we are runners in a great relay, competing against poverty, against hunger, against underdevelopment and against instability. It is therefore time for a new global planning and decision-making structure that encompasses the developed and the developing world, a structure that encompasses the critical multilateral agencies such as the IMF and the World Bank and, most definitely, the ILO.”

The Honourable Bruce Golding, Prime Minister of Jamaica

“I hope you will agree that the way out of the present crisis, indeed to avoid such crises, is through an employment-centred approach to development. This is embedded in our Constitution. Work is a right, a duty and a matter of honour. There is a right to a reasonable wage, and the State has to try to create conditions in which human labour is conducive to the expression of the human personality.”

H.E. Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh