‘Uncertain global economic outlook calls for renewed labour policies, institutions’
• Projection of unemployment rate at 4.9 per cent in 2020 unrealistic
Growing concerns about global economic and employment prospects must be met with robust policies to promote employment, social dialogue, labour standards and institutions, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has said.
ILO submitted that the prospects for strong employment growth and rising incomes have diminished in light of subdued growth and significant downside risks in the global economy.
A further decrease in manufacturing activity in the largest world economies could affect employment levels, as global economic prospects now made earlier projection of an unemployment rate at 4.9 per cent in 2020 unrealistic.
Furthermore, assuming the current economic slowdown does not turn into a recession, the global unemployment rate could remain at 5 per cent in 2020.
Director-General of the ILO, Guy Ryder, who spoke recently at the Annual Meetings World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) noted that the current macroeconomic response risks is inadequate to stop the global economic slowdown.
On the ILO global commission on the future of work and the ILO’s centenary declaration for the future of work, Ryder said the ILO supports a stimulus through investment in infrastructure to boost sustainable enterprises in key growth sectors (the care, digital and green economies), and investment in people’s capacities – lifelong learning, gender equality, support though transitions and social protection financed through a variety of sources.
Accordingly, Ryder noted that policies and programmes on job creation, job quality, start-ups, enterprise productivity and job formalisation needed to focus more on these small economic units.
According to him, in the current context of decreasing global trade, it becomes all the more important to ensure that participation in global value chains (GVCs) contributes to development and decent work.
He said: “Promoting human rights due diligence in GVCs must be only a first step towards building comprehensive efforts to achieve economic and social upgrading throughout the whole chain, involving employers’ and workers’ organisations as well as other key stakeholders.
“Getting all the above right would go a long way toward reducing the widening inequalities that we are witnessing within countries.
“Pro-active and effective measures are needed to promote strong industrial relations, expand social dialogue, strengthen collective bargaining, ensure that minimum wages are adequate and strengthen social security systems.”
On the global economic landscape, the ILO scribe said as global economic growth continues to slow down noted that slow economic growth not only subdues employment and income growth but also poses obstacles to more productive, fulfilling and decent work.
According to him, a wide variety of reasons accounted for sluggish growth within individual countries, reinforcing the need to pay attention to the developmental, political and social dynamics of each country.
“We cannot apply a one-size-fits-all solution to the problem of slow growth. Nevertheless, certain global trends deserve attention.
“The continued fall in world trade acts as a brake on world economic growth. While current protectionism and tariff wars undoubtedly block growth opportunities, the slowdown in trade is almost a decade old. It is likely, therefore, that something structural in the world economy has shifted,” Ryder said.
However, the way forward, ILO averred is for a sustained, inclusive and sustainable growth and decent work with key investments in strategic sectors.
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