20-21 September 2017

The Future of Work We Want: Workers’ perspective in the Arab region

The conference will bring together workers’ leaders, voices from academia, governments and employers from across the region to discuss the profound transformations and challenges faced by the world of work today and in the future.

All sessions of the event will be webcast on Facebook . You can also join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag: #ILOFOW.

The conference will contribute to the Future of Work Centenary Initiative from a trade union perspective based on the unique issues faced by the member countries of Arab region and discussing possible policy responses, both of governments and social partners, as a means to promoting and protecting the rights of working men and women.


Increasingly, over the last decades, there have been profound changes in the world of work in the economies across the world, both in developed and developing countries.

These changes are driven by a number of factors: globalization and technological innovation, leading to changes in production; greater inequality, polarization and exclusion within labour markets; demographic shifts, including migration; climate change; and, since 2008, economic stagnation.

There are widespread concerns regarding the impact of these social and economic transformations on workers in particular. In order to respond to this it will require a deeper reflection on the role workers have in society, a task not only limited to developed countries, since these transformations manifest themselves in every country and region. Developing countries in particular will be affected by the fast-evolving relocation trends challenging them in the future.

Hence, in 2013 the International Labour Organisation launched the Future of Work Centenary Initiative. Within the initiative, this regional conference is an important step to gain greater understanding of the changes we are witnessing and to develop effective policy responses, also from a gender perspective, that may offset the negative outcomes affecting workers.

The conference is structured around the Initiative’s four “Centenary Conversations” proposed by the Director-General:
  • Work and society;
  • Decent jobs for all;
  • The organization of work and production;
  • The governance of work.

Programme and Participants

Wednesday 20 September

08:30-09:00 Registration

09:00-09:30 Inauguration
  • Mr Mohamed Yatim- Ministry of Labour/ Morocco
  • Mr Moukharek Mouloudi- General Secretary of UMT/ Morocco
  • Ms Ruba Jaradat-ILO Regional Director/Arab States
  • Ms Maria Helena Andre, Director of  ACTRAV
  • Mr Guy Ryder, Director General, ILO (video)

9:30-11:00-Special Dialogue: Setting up a future that fits everyone: Giving a new Role to politics

Moderator: Maria Helena Andre, Director of ACTRAV
  • Mr Ali Al Ghezawi- Ministry of Labour /Jordan
  • Mr Mohamed Yatim-Mnistry of Labour /Morocco

11:30-13:30-Dialogue 1: Work and Society

  • New scenarios and changes in the world of work: challenges for the role work plays in society.
  • Globalization/de-globalization (return to nationalism). Trends and challenges for inclusive growth at the global and regional level.
  • Industry 4.0 technological revolution (driven by automation and information technology). Risks and opportunities for society as a whole.
  • Inequality, segregation, polarization, exclusion (with a particular focus on income and wealth distribution, demographics, labour migration, education and climate change). Gender perspective.
  • Work as a cornerstone of society: Renewed or interrupted?
Moderator: Ms Anna Biondi, Deputy Director of ACTRAV

Comments on Moderator’s questions:
  • Mr Mohammed Trabelsi- Mnistry of Social Affaires/Tunisia
  • Mr Chiguer Mohammed-Academic /Morocco
  • Ms Howaida Roman-Academic/Egypt
Participants’ opinions
  • Mr Hassan Halwachi, General Secretary- GFBTU/Bahrain
  • Mr Mazen Al-Maaytah, GFJTU/Jordan
  • Ms Fatiha Serhir, UGTM/Morocco

14.30-16:30-Dialogue 2: Decent Work for All

  • Challenges posed to the commitment to full, productive and freely chosen work as the basis for sustainable economies.
  • Trends in quantity and quality of employment. Structural unemployment and underemployment.
  • Dynamics of job creation and preservation: trends in traditional sectors and new sectors (green economy, care economy, collaborative economy).
  • The role of the State in applying and promoting a global labour framework at different policy levels (investment, innovation, research and development, macroeconomic policies such as minimum living wages); quality public services that are accessible to all; active and passive employment policies, educational and vocational policies; social protection and social security policies. Funding of public policies.
  • The role of social partners and other actors shaping society.
Moderator: Ms Wafaa Abdelkader, Specialist in Workers'Activities (ACTRAV)

Comments on Moderator’s questions

  • Mr Riad Al-Khouri- Economist /Jordan
  • Mr Jamal Belahrach –Vice President of the Contractors Association/Morocco
  • Mr Niazi Mustapha-Academic /Egypt
Comments from participants
  • CDT-Morocco
  • Mr Castro Abdullah-FENASOL-Lebanon
  • Mr Abdullah Nahah-CGTM/Mauritania

17:00-18:30-Special Dialogue: The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda

A way towards promoting a future of work based on inclusive growth, social justice and decent work for all.

Moderator:  Ms Maria Helena Andre, Director of ACTRAV

  • Ms Ruba Jaradat, ILO Regional Director for Arab States
  • Mustapha Tlili, Executive Secretary of ITUC/ATUC

Thursday 21 September

9:00-9:15-The Future of Work Starts now

By Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of ITUC (Video)

9:15-11:15-Dialogue 3: The Organization of Work and Production

  • Challenges for public policies and institutions faced with new forms of work and production to promote social justice.
  • New kinds of companies and occupations, challenges posed to governments and social partners.
  • Shifts in the organization of production and their impact on the organization of work (working time, wages, occupational health and safety (physical and psychosocial risks), reconciliation between work and private life).
  • Non-standard forms of employment. Changes in the nature of the employer/employee relationship.
  • Effects of new employment relations on the level of precariousness and informality.
  • Effects on public policies and institutions.
  • Workers’ collective action in the new economy (affiliation, workplace representation, collective bargaining).
Moderator: Mr Nezam Qahoush, Desk Officer for Arab States (ACTRAV)

Comments on Moderator's questions
  •  Mr Jamal Aghmani – Economist/Morocco
  • Mr  Tawfeek Rayash- Socialigist /Bahrain
  • Mr Nadim Elias/Egypt
Comments from participants
  • Mr Nourddine Taboubi- General Secretary, UGTT/Tunisia
  • Ms Amal Al Amri-UMT/Morocco
  • Mr  Isehaq AL KHARUSI-GFOTU/Oman
  • Mr Mongi Abderrahim Regional Representative UNI Arab World

11:30-13.30-Dialogue 4: The Governance of Work

  • The role of the ILO in a new world setting
  • Challenges for social dialogue and collective bargaining; balance between regulatory framework and contract provisions; levels of negotiation and the role of social partners.
  • Challenges for the State: Identifying loopholes in regulatory framework and the need for reforms to incorporate new policy tools and institutions.
  • The role of the ILO: ILS, tripartism, social dialogue. Main challenges to promote decent work and social justice in a fragmented labour market increasingly dominated by global supply chains.
Moderator: Mr Peter Van Rooj, Director of ILO Cairo Office

Comments on Moderator's questions
  • Mr Rachid Filali, Moroccan Professor
  • Mr Zakariya Al Saadi/ Chamber of Trade & Commerce/Oman 
Comments from participants
  • Mr Mazen Al-Maaytah-GFJTU/Jordan
  • Mr Bachir Lahsaini-UMT/Morocco
  • Ms Khadijetou Diallo UTM/ Mauritanie
  • Mr Saad SHABAN-EDLC/Egypt

15:00-15:30-Closing Ceremony

  • Mr Nicolas Niemthinow, Head of the Future of Work Unit (Video)
  • Ms Maria Helena Andre, Director of ACTRAV