The Director-General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Guy Ryder, has called for urgent action to create decent work in the green, care and digital economies to contribute to a just transition to carbon-neutral economies and to prevent inequalities from becoming entrenched.
In statements to the Spring meetings of the IMF and the World Bank Group, Ryder said that implementing the UN Secretary-General’s Global Accelerator on jobs and social protection for a just transition could create at least 400 million jobs by 2030, primarily in the care and green economies and would extend social protection floors to over 4 billion people currently not covered.
A transformative package of care policies, based on universal access, could generate close to 300 million jobs, create a pathway for building a better and more gender equal world of work and ensure that no one is left behind in the transition to net zero economies, he said.
To encourage a transition where benefits are shared widely and the most vulnerable are supported, the financial sector could deploy several levers, “For example, integrating decent work fully in financial investments, engaging with investees and clients to promote social dialogue, ensuring access to finance for SMEs in green sectors and robust just transition planning,” he added.
Fostering a people-centred recovery is all the more urgent as the outlook for 2022 remains fragile due to the rising COVID-19 caseloads, higher inflation and the impact of the Russian aggression against Ukraine on the global economy.
“The labour market recovery in 2022 will be slower than initially projected and global unemployment is expected to remain above pre-COVID-19 levels until at least 2023,” added Ryder. Particularly worrisome are the deepening inequalities within and among countries, damage that is “likely to require years to repair, with potential long-term consequences for labour force participation, household incomes and social cohesion.”
Even before the Russian federation’s aggression against Ukraine, estimations pointed to a deficit in hours worked globally equivalent to 52 million full-time jobs relative to the fourth quarter of 2019. While this latest projection is an improvement on the situation in 2021, it remains almost two per cent below the number of global hours worked pre-pandemic, explained the ILO Director-General.
The war in Ukraine is worsening the economic outlook, creating “a triple crisis – in finance, fuel and food – that will increase poverty and hunger and lead to substantially worse outcomes in the world of work,” added Ryder.
“Going forward, policymakers face difficult choices,” he said, predicting that calls for monetary and fiscal policy will tighten at a faster rate in efforts to curb inflation. “Yet, the economic recovery still requires macroeconomic support to be sustainable.”
Achieving a human-centred recovery will require careful coordination and balancing of macroeconomic policies so that they provide sufficient support for investing in people and the planet, while reining in inflation.
Support remains essential to invest in a transformative agenda for gender equality, in the protection of workers by guaranteeing fundamental rights at work and health and safety at work and in the provision of universal social protection.
Involving workers and employers’ representatives in decision-making through social dialogue ensures that these investments are mutually beneficial to firms and workers and have positive macroeconomic repercussions and spillover effects.
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