To mark its 100th anniversary, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) adopted a centenary declaration on the future of work, which highlights the role of co-ops in generating decent employment.
Approved on 21 June, the declaration notes that a “fair, inclusive and secure future of work with full, productive and freely chosen employment and decent work for all” is fundamental for sustainable development that puts an end to poverty and leaves no one behind.
The initial draft text of the declaration also emphasised the need for an enabling environment for entrepreneurship, innovation and sustainable enterprises, but did not acknowledge co-operatives as a type of sustainable enterprise. The final version of the declaration clearly mentions co-operatives.
It states that “the ILO must direct its efforts to support the role of the private sector as a principal source of growth and job creation by promoting an enabling environment for entrepreneurship and sustainable enterprises, as well as co-operatives and the social and solidarity economy in order to generate decent work, productive employment and improved living standards for all”.
The International Co-operative Alliance (ICA), which holds an observer status at the ILO, followed the negotiations of the Committee of the Whole elaborating the declaration throughout the International Labour Conference.
The ICA welcomed the ILO’s commitment “to a world free of violence and harassment”, pointing out its own pledges through the ICA Declaration on Decent Work and Against Harassment.
“The co-operative movement welcomes the final declaration and wishes to highlight the fruitful collaboration with the ILO since its creation. As responsible for providing employment to 10% of the world’s employed population, co-operatives are crucial actors for building a better future today,” said ICA president, Ariel Guarco.
The declaration is the result of two weeks of negotiations between governments, trade unions and employers’ organisations from across the world. The ICA also expressed its appreciation for the work carried out by the ILO’s Cooperatives Unit in supporting the role of co-operatives for the future of work.
On 24 June, at the ILO-ICA Conference on the Future of Work, the ICA and the ILO have also singed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen the co-operative enterprise model.
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