Thank you, Chair.
I speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Candidate Countries the Republic of North Macedonia[*], Montenegro* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the EFTA countries Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well Armenia and Georgia align themselves with this statement.
We support the IMEC statement
The EU and its Member States would like to affirm our support to the strategic and coherent approach in the setting of the International Labour Conference Agenda. In this spirit, we see the item we are discussing today as closely linked with our discussions last summer, which led to the adoption of the Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work.
The Declaration itself, but also the negotiations during the Conference, provided all constituents with the opportunity to highlight the topics they see as of utmost importance for the achievement of a just and human‑centred approach to the future of work. The EU and its Member States engaged in a committed way to those discussions and have already stated the elements they find crucial in this regard.
We are pleased to see today that the suggestions by the Office for the future ILC Agendas take into account our discussions. Although we recognize that all proposals are well anchored in the Declaration and the relevant debates, we would like to express our special interest for the item of “Skills and lifelong learning”. We cannot underestimate the importance of lifelong learning and skilling, reskilling and upskilling in the future of work, especially in relation to new technologies and as a measure to support people through the transitions they face throughout their working lives. As EU and Member States we consider it a key policy area and continue our active efforts to address in the best possible way the challenge of skills gaps and mismatches. At the same time, we share the opinion that the ILO should take a leading role in this field at a global level, to the benefit of all its constituents. We therefore believe that a general discussion on “Skills and lifelong learning” is timely and support its inclusion in the 2020 ILC Agenda.
The EU and its Member States were one of the stronger advocates for the recognition of the right to safe and healthy working conditions as a fundamental principle and right at work. The human cost and the economic burden caused by occupational accidents and work-related diseases are vast. The EU and its Member States are consistently investing in OSH for improving people’s lives with positive effects on business productivity and national competitiveness.
On a similar note, the EU was actively involved in the last Standards Review Mechanism Tripartite Working Group. It had rich and wide-ranging discussions about the form of new standards, the revision and amendment of existing standards, the process of standard-setting, and the promotion of ratification and implementation. A proper follow-up to this work is very important.
Given the importance we attach to these topics, we would like at this stage to retain flexibility and defer the completion of the 2021 ILC Agenda to the March 2020 GB in order to take stock of our relevant discussions both at the current and the upcoming GB session.
At the same time, the EU and its Member States have a keen interest in the social and solidarity economy as well as in the topic of “A just transition of the world of work towards environmentally sustainable economies and societies for all”. No one can deny that climate change is one of the defining concerns of our time and that we need to address its effects on the world of work. We should ensure that this necessary transition is just and contributes to creation of decent green jobs for all. We therefore believe both topics merit a Conference discussion in the near future.
Let us also confirm our support to the organization of a tripartite meeting on the topic of Decent Work in the platform economy for the first semester of 2021 as proposed by the Office, to feed into a Conference discussion possibly in 2023. The EU and its Member States have already expressed strong interest for a discussion on how to safeguard the quality of work and social protection of all workers in digital labour platforms including by combating informality.
With all these considerations in mind, we support the amendment of the decision point, as proposed by IMEC.
[*] The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.