Thank you, Chair.
I speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States
The Candidate Countries Turkey, the Republic of North Macedonia[*], Montenegro[*], Serbia[*] and Albania[*], the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the EFTA country Norway, member of the European Economic Area, align themselves with this statement.
We support the IMEC statement.
The European Union and its Member States welcome Office paper GB 337/INS/3/2 on follow-up to the resolution on the ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work as regards proposals for including safe and healthy working conditions in the ILO’s framework of fundamental principles and rights at work. The paper sets out a procedural roadmap for this, which encompasses both a timeline and issues to be examined by the Governing Body.
We are strongly of the view that peoples’ life and health are fundamental and that in the 21st Century safe and healthy working conditions should be ensured for all. Every year, about 2.8 million persons die as a result of occupational accidents or work-related diseases and there are some 374 million non-fatal work-related injuries. Not only is the human harm of poor occupational safety and health unacceptable, but it has a negative economic burden estimated at about 4 per cent of global Gross Domestic Product. These considerations lead the European Union and its Member States to support the efforts to integrate the right to safe and healthy working conditions into the ILO’s framework of fundamental principles and rights at work.
We thank the Office for the very useful context which the paper provides. The protection for the life and health of workers at work and the promotion of healthy and safe working conditions are already part of ILO founding texts and of SDG 8.8. The right to safe and healthy working conditions is further recognised as a fundamental right in the UN Covenant on economic, social and cultural rights, a human rights instrument, as it is in a regional instrument such as the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
We understand from the paper that the decision on the inclusion of safe and healthy working conditions within the framework of fundamental principles and rights at work is a matter for the International Labour Conference.
Having listened carefully to the discussions in the Committee of the Whole at the 108th Session of the International Labour Conference in June we appreciate that there are certain legal and technical issues to be considered and that further dialogue is needed to build consensus on such an important issue. We consider the agenda of the 2021 (110th) Session of the Conference is the appropriate time for this Conference discussion. We believe that with good social dialogue in the GB and strong legal and technical support from the Office, we can consider an outcome document on the inclusion of safe and healthy working conditions in the framework of fundamental principles and rights at work at the 110th Session.
The EU would like to emphasise that the discussion on the inclusion of safe and healthy working conditions within the framework of fundamental principles and rights at work should not affect the implementation of the recommendations of the SRM Tripartite working Group on modernisation and updating of OSH-standards.
We consider that the procedural roadmap set out at paragraph 21 of paper GB 337/INS/3/2 provides adequate time and space for the necessary dialogue and deliberations in advance of the 110th Session. We welcome the possibility, as set out in paragraph 22, for the Governing Body to consider intersessional consultations as and when appropriate.
Chair, in conclusion we would say that we look forward to engaging in constructive dialogue with all constituents on this very important issue, and confirm our support for the point for decision in paragraph 23.
[*] The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.