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Source: International Labour Organization –

GENEVA (ILO News) – ILO Director-General Guy Ryder has welcomed the commitment made by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (the BRICS countries) to take more action to support labour markets in meeting the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19.

In remarks to the sixth BRICS Labour and Employment Ministers Meeting (LEMM), Ryder also praised the employment and social protection measures already implemented by these five major economies, noting that 121 new social protection measures had been introduced between March and August 2020 as part of the BRICS crisis response.

“Sustaining jobs, enterprises and income support measures at the necessary scale when resources are likely to become increasingly constrained will be a challenge,” Ryder told the ministers. “But avoiding reversing all the progress that has been made in reducing poverty, and ensuring no one is left behind, will require our continuing efforts…. It will also require higher levels of international cooperation and solidarity”.

In a Declaration issued at the end of the Meeting, the Ministers made a wide range of commitments intended to support enterprises, stable and inclusive labour markets, and human-centred development.

Social dialogue enables us effectively to reconcile competing interests and to build trust and ownership of response measures. Its importance cannot be emphasized too strongly.”

Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General

These included promoting a preventive safety and health at work culture, in particular for high-risk and vulnerable groups such as women, youth and older workers. The Ministers also reaffirmed their commitment to eradicate violence and harassment at work, to foster women’s empowerment and increase their employment opportunities, and to invest in the care economy.

The Ministers’ Declaration says they will further strengthen their social protection systems, taking into account the ILO’s social protection floor recommendation (R202), and progressively ensure universal access to comprehensive, adequate, social protection.

More will be done to digitally equip and upgrade national public employment services, labour inspectorates and social protection institutions to leverage transformative technology for decent work, and to promote the transition of workers and enterprises from the informal to the formal economy.

The Declaration also recognized the central role of social dialogue, and the necessity of strengthening it to advance decent work. The social partners of the five countries – workers’ and employers’ organizations participated in the meeting, something welcomed by the Director-General. “Social dialogue enables us effectively to reconcile competing interests and to build trust and ownership of response measures. Its importance cannot be emphasized too strongly,” he said.

The Director-General made two interventions in the LEMM; remarks during the opening session and a presentation on the Future of Work in a Digital Economy.

The LEMM was hosted by Russia but held virtually on Friday 9 October.

MIL OSI NGO