MIL-OSI Translation: Collective bargaining in the workplace key to global recovery, says ILO

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MIL OSI Translation. Region: France and French Territories –

Source: United Nations – in French 2

Headline: Collective bargaining in the workplace key to global recovery, says ILO

In a changing world of work, the United Nations’ International Labor Organization (ILO) on Thursday stressed the importance of dialogue between workers and employers for the global post-pandemic recovery – and for maintaining fair wages.

After two years of lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic and amid growing pressure on the classic 9am-5pm business model – from zero hour contracts to telework – the ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, insisted on Thursday that voluntary negotiations, known as collective bargaining, have proven their worth.

“Workers want to keep their heads above water, when prices rise, as they are now, and they want to ensure workplace safety and the paid sick leave that has proven so essential to the past two years,” he told reporters in Geneva. “Employers, for their part, have welcomed agreements that have allowed them to retain skilled and experienced workers, so they can restart, recover and bounce back.”

He added that “the higher the percentage of employees covered by collective agreements, the lower the wage inequalities. And the more equality and diversity are likely to be present in the workplace”.

A crucial role during the pandemic

According to a new report from the UN agency, titled Social Dialogue Report 2022: Collective Bargaining for an Inclusive, Sustainable and Resilient Recovery, more than one in three workers in 98 countries currently see their pay, hours labor and other working conditions determined by autonomous collective bargaining between a trade union and an employer or an organization of employers.

But there are considerable variations from country to country, says the ILO, ranging from more than 75% of workers having a collective agreement in many European countries and Uruguay, to less than 25% in around half countries for which data are available.

Collective bargaining has played a crucial role during the pandemic in building resilience to protect workers and businesses, ensure business continuity and save jobs and incomes

At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, the ILO report says collective bargaining helped protect people’s jobs and incomes.

“Collective bargaining has played a crucial role during the pandemic in building resilience to protect workers and businesses, ensure business continuity and save jobs and incomes,” said Guy Ryder, noting that the Joint agreements had also helped ease the concerns of millions of workers by strengthening occupational safety and health in the workplace, as well as paid sick leave and health care benefits.

“Flexible working arrangements and leave arrangements have been negotiated so that workers, especially women, can balance their work with additional responsibilities related to school closures or the illness of family members” , he added. “And temporary workers have had their contracts extended or converted to permanent ones so they can maintain their income.”

Photo: UTI/G. anderson

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A new hybrid reality

After two years of workplace upheaval caused by the coronavirus, post-pandemic collective agreements have now evolved to reflect the new realities of working from home and other “hybrid” work practices, argued the Chief Executive of the ILO.

Indeed, the study indicates that collective bargaining will be an essential tool in dealing with the fundamental changes that are shaking up the world of work.

Given the rapid growth of diverse working arrangements – including temporary, part-time and on-demand work, multi-party employment relationships, dependent self-employment and, more recently, platform work performed in different work and employment relationships – several countries have taken steps to ensure the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining for all workers, explains the ILO study.

“The agreements already focus on equal opportunities, the integration of on-site and remote working practices, the re-regulation of working time into a right to disconnect and the consideration of the common concerns of workers. and employers on cybersecurity and data privacy,” said Ryder. He called for more countries to promote dialogue between workers’ organizations and employers.

“There are very good reasons to strengthen the institutions that facilitate collective bargaining,” continued the ILO chief. “Employers’ and workers’ organizations must be strong to ensure the legitimacy of agreed solutions, and given the proliferation of diverse forms of work, we must ensure the effective recognition of the right to effective collective bargaining for all workers with need protection”.

The report highlights that bargaining can thus have positive effects on the stability, equality, compliance and resilience of businesses and labor markets.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and/or sentence structure not be perfect.

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