President Ramaphosa addresses ILO conference on the future world of work

Outcomes of the Global Commission on the Future of Work were presented at the recent centenary conference.

Speaking at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Centenary Conference in Geneva, Switzerland, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the establishment of the Global Commission on the Future of Work, which he co-chairs with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, will be an immense benefit to South Africa and the world alike. 

The International Labour Conference coincides with ILO’s Centenary celebration and is being convened from 10-21 June 2019 under the theme: ‘Building a Better Future with Decent Work’

The president attended the conference with a delegation that includes Minister of Employment and Labour, Thembelani Nxesi and a delegation of the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC), is set to address a high level sitting where the outcomes of the Global Commission on the Future of Work were presented. The Future of Work Report made 10 recommendations that are guided by a human-centred agenda, which proposes that the social contract can be strengthened by placing people and the work they do at the centre of economic, social policy and business practice.

“The work undertaken, the insights shared, and the recommendations put forward will be of immense benefit for many countries and for my own country, South Africa, as we grapple with the challenges of change,” Ramaphosa said.

“Now, the world must confront the question of how to enhance the rights of workers in the face of rapid industrialisation, climate and technological change.”

The establishment of the commission places the ILO at the centre of global efforts to shape the world of work in the future and comprises leading figures from business, trade unions, think tanks, governments and NGOs from across the work and has adopted a human-centred approach that it hopes will bring about rapid and unprecedented change in the world of work. 

Its mandate is to seek recommendations to changes in the global economy as a result of technological advancement, demography, globalisation and climate change and how that impacts workers and the nature and future of work. 

President Ramaphosa has also recently established the Presidential Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) which will assist the government in taking advantage of the opportunities presented by the digital industrial revolution. Like the aforementioned ILO commission, it is tasked with identifying the relevant policies, strategies and action plans that will position South Africa as a competitive global player in an environment where both the workforce and the workplace are being rapidly transformed by the technological advances of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, as the growth of artificial intelligence, automation and robotics threatens jobs.