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Minister of Employment Timo Harakka's speech at the Centenary Session of ILO International Labour Conference

14.6.2019 13.57 | Published in English on 14.6.2019 at 14.01
Speech

Geneva 14 June 2019.

Mr President, Director-General, dear colleagues, Ladies and gentlemen,

The ILO was created 100 years ago to promote peace through social justice. This mandate seems extremely relevant still today. Peace and social justice go hand in hand and social justice forms the foundation for the legitimacy of democratic societies.

The ILO has affected deeply the way we work and promote social justice through labour standards and labour market policies at the national, regional and global level.

Social justice through social dialogue has been an important building block also in Finland. We have managed to create a Nordic welfare state although our independence started with a severe social conflict, a civil war in 1918.

Dear Chair,

The theme of this Conference is Future of Work and how the rapid changes in the society and in working life should be taken into account in the ILO and in Member states.

The Nordic countries took actively part in the ILO Centenary debate initiated by Director-General Guy Ryder. In the Nordic tripartite ILO Centenary Conferences, held in Helsinki, Oslo, Stockholm and Reykjavik, promotion of gender equality in working life came up as a priority for the ILO.  

ILO has played an important role when Finland has formulated its gender equality policies and tackled gender pay gaps. Gender equality is a priority for us and merits more attention in the UN, including the ILO.

Women form half of the population of the world. They face particular challenges in the labour market in many countries. They are often discriminated at work and denied equal access to vocational training and work. The ILO and other relevant specialized agencies, Member States and the social partners should promote gender equality in working life together.

The Anti-discrimination Convention gives ILO a strong mandate to fight gender discrimination and promote equal treatment at work, including equal access to vocational training and employment and equal terms of employment.  ILO conventions promote also equal pay for work of equal value and protect workers with family responsibilities.

The Finnish government welcomes the gender relevant work during this Conference aiming to ban violence and harassment at work.  

The ILO is a global organization having a mandate to promote the decent work agenda in the multilateral system dealing with worldwide problems that cannot be solved at the national or regional level.

Social clauses in trade agreements and corporate social responsibility are useful tools to promote global social governance and decent work in global supply chains. They help us prevent substandard work, performed for example by forced labour, child labour or by workers not having the right to organize and bargain collectively or by those working in dangerous working conditions.

We have to fight also substandard working conditions of migrant workers. Equal opportunities and equal treatment of migrant workers is a priority for the Finnish government. ILO work concerning the ban to carry unfair recruitment fees from workers, including migrant workers, is getting more and more important as migration is increasing.

The UN and its specialized agencies have to respond together to the new global challenges in order to attain the UN sustainable development goals. Also in this context social justice through social dialogue and fundamental rights and principles at work, decent work and employment opportunities, labour and social protection, right of employers and workers to organize and bargain collectively, equal opportunities and treatment at work and fight against poverty remain the key mandate of the ILO.

The ILO has made huge efforts to promote social justice and labour rights. In the EU the European Social Pillar demonstrates commitment to social justice. As Finland is taking over the EU Council Presidency in the second half of 2019, issues relating to social justice and Future of Work will be on our Presidency agenda. Social justice and employment promotion and new skills matching with the rapidly changing labour market needs are key priorities for Finland.

Thank you Mr President