The future of work, especially the introduction of digital and robotic technology in the economy, which is expected to form a new network of industrial relations, was the focus of a workshop organized on Wednesday by the Ministry of Welfare, Labour and Social Insurance, in collaboration with the University of Nicosia School of Law, to mark 100 years since the International Labour Organization (ILO) was founded in 1919.
Addressing the workshop, Labour Minister Zeta Emilianides stressed that what we know today about work will not exist tomorrow and referred to the ILO’s report on the Future of Work, according to which more than 50% of today’s job positions would not be the same.
It is very important, she noted, to prepare our country for tomorrow.
According to Emilianides the report included three very important targets, the first one being investment in people, while the second one is investment in work structures and how these would change in the future. The third target, she added, is investment in decent and sustainable work.
In his speech, read by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Minister Nikos Christodoulides stressed that the importance the Republic of Cyprus attaches to the ILO is highlighted by the fact that Cyprus joined the organization from the first year of its establishment in 1960, adding that the country has ratified more than 50 conventions of the ILO.
Christodoulides noted that the Ministry supports the strengthening of multilateral diplomacy on the basis of international law and respect for human rights and internationally accepted principles, underlining that by exercising multilateral diplomacy within the EU, Cyprus is now considered a precious partner and an important factor of stability, security and peace in a turbulent region.
“The republic of Cyprus makes every effort to contribute significantly in the activities of the UN in a wide range of issues of concern for the international community because in this way we strengthen our efforts to protect and promote our national interests and priorities, strengthening our international position at the same time”, he stressed and underlined that in these multilateral system, international organizations, including the ILO, have a significant role to play in promoting respect for universally accepted principles.
In a video message, Director-General of the ILO Guy Ryder stressed that a viable project for the future of work needs to be built, noting that “rapid changes in our world are putting pressure on already challenged labour markets in many countries”.
Societies, Ryder said, “are experiencing fundamental transformation driven not only by technological advances but also by demographic employment change and globalization. Polarization and widening inequality is already evident in the labour market of a number of countries and that includes Cyprus that was hit hard by the impact of the financial crisis some years ago”.
Ryder said that Cyprus and the ILO have an excellent cooperation that has been strengthened since 2013 especially on social dialogue, youth employment, labour inspection and the reform of the protection system and noted that the Organisation is now assisting Cyprus in its efforts to establish a national minimum wage.
According to Guy Ryder, the report of the ILO’s Global Commission on the Future of Work proposes a human centered agenda that places people and the work that they do at the centre of economic and social policy and business practices. This agenda has three priorities for action. First, increasing investment in peoples’ capabilities so that they can take advantage fully of the real opportunities that the future of work offers by supporting them through the multiple transitions that they will increasingly face over the course of their working lives. The second priority is to increase investment in the institutions of work and third is to increase investment in decent and sustainable work, the jobs of the future.
“It also calls for increased coherence in the multilateral system particularly between the ILO, the World Trade Organisation and the Bretton Woods Institutions”, that is the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
“The challenge facing us all today is to reinvigorate the social contract that first took shape in 1919 with the foundation of the ILO”, said the Organisation’s Director General, noting that Cyprus is certainly well placed to meet that challenge, as it has strong tradition and strong actors of social partnership.