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Lousy jobs for all or Decent Work for a few University of Antwerp, 21 October 2014 Lawrence Egulu, ILO/Geneva.

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Presentation on theme: "Lousy jobs for all or Decent Work for a few University of Antwerp, 21 October 2014 Lawrence Egulu, ILO/Geneva."— Presentation transcript:

1 Lousy jobs for all or Decent Work for a few University of Antwerp, 21 October 2014 Lawrence Egulu, ILO/Geneva

2 A weak global economy presents daunting challenges... In 2013, 202 million people were unemployed with nearly 40 per cent of them young women and men. In some countries, almost one-quarter of young people aged 15 to 29 are now neither in employment, nor in education or training. Employment in EU28 is still below the pre-crisis level of nearly 223 million in 2008, and unemployment rates were recorded at 10.2 per cent in July – On a global level, the ILO estimates that around 600 million new jobs need to be created over the next 10 years.

3 …but is no excuse to promote “lousy” jobs Decent work is – The converging focus of all its four strategic objectives: the promotion of rights at work; employment; social protection; and social dialogue. – Decent work means productive work in which rights are protected, which generates an adequate income, with adequate social protection. – It provides an avenue through which the poor can be assured of job opportunities in conditions of freedom, equity, security and dignity.

4 Countries investing in quality jobs have done better than others from both an economic and a social point of view The ILO’s “World of Work 2014: Developing with Jobs” report provides evidence that investing in quality jobs, reducing vulnerable employment and tackling working poverty leads to higher economic growth.World of Work 2014: Developing with Jobs The countries that invested the most in quality jobs from the early 2000s grew nearly one percentage point faster every year since 2007 than other developing and emerging economies. Moreover these countries also tended to be associated with lower income inequalities. The report cites Senegal, Peru and Vietnam as countries where growth increased because of focusing on quality jobs, resulting in a fall in poverty The World Bank’s research concludes that “more and better-paying jobs were the key factors behind poverty reduction over the past decade.” – In other words, growth can create decent jobs, and decent jobs can drive growth.

5 Lower net inequality is robustly correlated with faster and more durable growth Recent IMF research confirms that lower net inequality is robustly correlated with faster and more durable growth. OECD similarly estimates that “On average, an increase in income inequality by 1 Gini point lowers yearly GDP per capita growth by around 0.2 percentage points. The evidence in the “World of Work 2014: Developing with Jobs” report shows that lower labour income share can be detrimental to growth as a result of the effect on reduced consumption.World of Work 2014: Developing with Jobs Reducing inequality requires both improving the distribution of income and creating more and better jobs.

6 Jobs first, quality later? The world already has lots of lousy jobs. People are already working, but still remain poor. In 2013, 839 million workers (or 26.7 per cent of total employment) were classified as “working poor”, or had to cope with US$2 a day or less. More than half the developing world’s workers, a total of 1.47 billion, are in vulnerable employment, with the majority being in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa more than three out of four workers are in vulnerable forms of employment.

7 Lots of lousy jobs in the informal economy cannot lift the world out of poverty

8 Lots of lousy jobs in the informal economy cannot lift the world out of poverty/2 Most of the lousy jobs are in the informal economy, which accounts for a significant share of employment in developing economies, reaching over 80 per cent in some low income countries. The informal economy is marked by acute decent work deficits and a disproportionate share of the working poor. Lousy jobs cannot and will not help transform economies, and will continue to generate inequality, poverty and vulnerability.

9 There is strong evidence that social protection helps reduce the incidence of poverty, inequalities and vulnerable employment Globally, four out of five persons in the working-age population have no access to adequate social protection, lacking access to social security, health and unemployment assistance. Social security systems are affordable. ILO has estimated that between 2-4 per cent of GDP in an LDC can make a big dent on extreme poverty. Well-designed social security systems enhance individual capabilities to obtain better jobs – Bolsa Familia in Brazil, – the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act in India, – Ethiopia’s productive safety net programme.

10 Despite its contribution to global development, agriculture is still dominated by “lousy” jobs

11 Despite its contribution to global development, agriculture is still dominated by “lousy” jobs/2 Agriculture is a source of livelihood for some 1.3 billion people globally. Agriculture sector jobs are often characterized by serious decent work deficits such as child labour and bonded labour, inadequate levels of income, poor working and health conditions, lack of social protection, social dialogue and representation. Addressing these decent work deficits in the agriculture and rural sectors will go a long way in leveraging its full contribution toward sustainable development.

12 The primary push factor for migration is the search for decent jobs

13 The primary push factor for migration is the search for decent jobs/2 In 2013, some million people were living in a country other than the one in which they were born. Migration does pose major policy challenges and lamentably it continues, in too many cases, to be associated with the unacceptable treatment and abuse of some of those women and men who are the most vulnerable in our labour markets. The growth of irregular migration, and trafficking and smuggling of human beings constitute major challenges to protection of human and labour rights. The creation of more decent work opportunities in countries of origin is key to making migration an option rather than an obligation.

14 Forced labour is big business

15 Forced labour is big business/2 At least 20.9 million people being victims of forced labour globally, and is worth US$150 billion a year in profits. 22 per cent of people in forced labour are victims of commercial sexual exploitation, and 68 per cent are victims of forced labour exploitation, for example in agriculture, construction, domestic work or manufacturing. Recent research shows that forced labour also has far broader social and economic consequences in terms of impeding economic development and perpetuating poverty.

16 Occupational safety and health is a path to sustainable growth

17 Occupational safety and health is a path to sustainable growth/2 An estimated 2.3 million workers die every year from occupational accidents and diseases. Cutting corners to reduce labour costs – In Bangladesh, a factory fire in November 2012 that killed 117 garment workers and the Rana Plaza building collapse of a building housing several RMG manufacturers in April 2013 that killed 1,129 workers. – Bangladeshi garment sector workers earn some of the lowest wages in the region. As of August 2013, the monthly minimum wage for entry- level workers in the garment sector was US$39 per month. The direct or indirect cost of occupational illness and accidents at work is estimated at US$2.8 trillion worldwide. Therefore investing in occupational safety and health is good business.

18 The main cause of child labour is the inability of the parents to earn a decent wage

19 The main cause of child labour is the inability of the parents to earn a decent wage/2 168 million children worldwide – one in ten – are in child labour. 85 million of them are engaged in hazardous work. Family poverty and income shocks are often catalysts of child labour, hence tackling the root of the problem while simultaneously providing immediate support to children in need.

20 Workers’ rights are human rights

21 Workers’ rights are human rights/2 Forming and belonging to a trade union is a human right, and violations of these rights are only promoted in the world of “lousy” jobs. According to the ITUC, – In 2013, 1,951 trade unionists faced violence and 629 were unlawfully detained for collective action. – Union leaders were murdered in ten countries including Cambodia, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Colombia, Mauritania, Egypt and Benin. – The highest number of murders in a single country took place in Colombia where 26 trade unionists were killed in 2013, an increase of eight worker deaths from the previous year.

22 Final take-aways We cannot and should not promote more bad or lousy jobs. Economic growth is not sustainable when it is based on poor and unsafe working conditions, suppressed wages and rising working poverty and inequalities. Full, productive and freely chosen employment should be the basis of any employment policy. Decent jobs mean non-discrimination at work; equal pay for work of equal value; fair wages; respect for workers’ and trade union rights; better safety and social protection; precarious work; no forced labour and child labour; more social dialogue; no child labour, forced labour; no gender inequalities; no discrimination at work; no long hours of work, etc. It is necessary to recognize that, while the number of jobs created makes an enormous difference, the quality of employment also matters. The world has lots of lousy jobs where the workers are over-worked and under- employed. The bulk of them are unproductive jobs that mean that around half of adult men and women cannot earn enough to keep themselves and their families above the $2 a day poverty line. Decent work changes lives for the better. The answer is not in more lousy jobs for all, but more decent jobs.


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