The Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO) has called for a crisis response through social insurance, adequate wage rises and increased support for fragile economies. Gilbert F. Houngbo made his remarks at the 2022 Annual Meetings of the World Bank and IMF. He also called for better working conditions in supply chains and the promotion of sustainable businesses as well as gender equality.
In its remarks to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund Annual Meetings, the ILO argues for a crisis response through universal social insurance, adequate wage rises, increased support for fragile economies, and respect for labor rights.
Gilbert F. Houngbo, the Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), told attendees at the 2022 Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group (WBG) that one of the top responses to the current economic and social crisis should be to prevent scarring and protect the most vulnerable.
A priority program called the Global Accelerator on Jobs and Social Protection for Just Transitions is making investments in social protection and gainful employment. The Global Accelerator intends to accelerate the development of 400 million jobs, notably in the green, digital, and healthcare industries, as well as the provision of adequate social protection to the four billion people who are now uninsured. This would bring attention to the need for a fair transition to fighting climate change and a change to a more proactive way of dealing with economic, social, and environmental problems.
The Director-General urged delegates, saying, “At this difficult time, we must grasp the initiative… [and] build the future so that it offers a better, more fair, and sustainable world that will also contribute to lasting peace.”
In a letter to the World Bank-IMF Development Committee, Houngbo said that increasing the number of productive jobs was the most important thing to do to reduce inequality. A greater formalization of employment was also required to increase corporate sustainability and productivity, support decent labour, and provide governments with more funding to combat inequality and poverty.
Long-term strategies were also required to address the enduringly substantial gender discrepancies in income, pensions, and labor standards.
He told the Committee that “many countries now face a difficult policy picture, with increasing debt burdens and less fiscal room to move.” “A concerted effort is required to manage better, eventually resolve, and avoid future crises.” This included things like raising social security payments and wages to keep living standards stable in the face of inflation, which could be done without causing a wage-price spiral; fixing unfairness in the job market; and putting more money into training and care.
The Director-General identified a cost-of-living problem fueled by increased prices and the decoupling of wage growth from productivity growth, which led to decreasing real wages, in a second written testimony to the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC). He added that without swift action and more resources, this might worsen inequality and put more strain on businesses. As many nations have little fiscal room to support low-income households, this could lead to civil upheaval.
Houngbo stressed that weaker economies, which may be struggling with high and rising debt, need more help. According to him, better working conditions in supply chains, the promotion of sustainable businesses, and higher regard for labor rights might spur economic growth, the eradication of poverty, and more income equality between nations.
To solve the current problems, which are linked and make each other worse, he called for stronger group activities and emphasized that doing so would also improve social justice and contribute to long-term peace.
Analysis by: Advocacy Unified Network