ILO Director-General Guy Ryder has called on European and Central Asian countries to ensure that economic growth goes hand in hand with social progress as they seek to address the challenges surrounding the future of work in the region.
‘We are being reminded with increasing frequency and insistence of the political consequences of accumulating citizens’ frustration at what they regard as inadequate policy outcomes,’ said Ryder, who was speaking at the opening of the 10th European Regional Meeting in Istanbul, Turkey.
He said that the macro-economic figures in the region were looking better than they did a short time ago, but added that these numbers should not disguise the fact that unemployment remains worryingly high – especially amongst young workers – and that many countries are still recovering from the crisis.
‘Fortunately, Europe and Central Asia can rely on many assets as it seeks to meet these challenges… These include: strong, independent and representative social partners and well-established systems of social protection whose sustainability and adequacy require constant vigilance, physical and social infrastructure, and training capacities which are critical to sustaining successful and competitive enterprises.’
And he added: ‘There is one further asset which I must stress here in Istanbul, which is unanimous acceptance that full respect of fundamental principles and rights at work is the indispensable base from which all else will flow.’
Referring to the events of July 2016 in Turkey, Ryder said that all measures introduced to defend the democratic rights and freedoms in the country should be in line with the fundamental principles and rights at work protected by ratified ILO Conventions.
The ILO European Regional Meeting takes place every four years. It brings together Government, Employer and Worker representatives from 51 European and Central Asian countries. The theme of the meeting is ‘What future for decent work in Europe and Central Asia: Opportunities and challenges ‘.