GENEVA (ILO News) –Social justice and the role of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in international governance were at the centre of the speech given on Wednesday by Ms. Micheline Calmy-Rey, President of the Swiss Confederation at the 100th International Labour Conference (ILC).
“There is a renewed sense of urgency for social justice”, she said, adding that social justice implied “a right to dignity and equal opportunities” (...) as well as “equity between regions of the world and between generations (…)and a condition of a generalized sustainable development”.
The Swiss President also added that social justice required “a fundamental social protection floor”, claiming that the fact that only 20 per cent of the world’s working-age population have access to a social protection scheme was a “major injustice” as well as “a danger for political stability”. This is why she “welcomed and provided Switzerland’s full backing” to the social protection floor Initiative developed by the ILO and the World Health Organization.
Ms. Calmy-Rey also welcomed the draft Convention to be voted on by the 100th ILC on Thursday “that will give some 100 million domestic workers access to their social and economic rights”.
Ms. Calmy Rey said that she believed the ILO remained “a model for international governance” and called for a reinforcement of the role of the ILO on employment and work-related international discussions. “There is no fair international governance without the ILO”, she said, adding: “I advocate for the ILO to claim observer status at the WTO”.
Highlighting the importance of labour standards, the President announced that Switzerland would ratify ILO Convention No. 122 on employment policy.
“The challenge always remains. This is the reason why I would like you not to lose hope and go on with your efforts to reconcile justice, freedom and social protection”, she said to the assembled government, employer and worker delegates.
In his welcoming remarks, ILO Director-General, Juan Somavia, stressed the involvement of Switzerland in efforts “to reach a fairer, more real and tangible globalization. We are aware that Switzerland is a main actor of a multilateral system that is more coherent, of a globalization that is more balanced, benefiting everyone”, he added. Finally, Mr. Somavia also welcomed efforts made by Switzerland when it comes to gender equity.