|Ursula Kulke, ILO Senior Social Protection Specialist|
ACTRAV INFO: The ILO will organize the 5th meeting of the Social Protection, Freedom and Justice for Workers Network. Why is this meeting important for workers and their organizations?The meeting is very important, as it provides a unique platform for workers’ representatives from all over the world to discuss and exchange experiences, best practices, knowledge and expectations in the field of social protection. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous impact on the world of work and has hampered trade unions’ action, in some cases to the extent of putting at risk their survival. At the same time, it has shown that trade unions’ participation in policy discussions and in the implementation of shock-responsive social protection measures is critical to find effective solutions in crisis situations. Now, as we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis, trade unions face the even more complex challenge of ensuring that those often-temporary measures are used as a stepping stone towards building universal, comprehensive, adequate and sustainable social protection systems with a human-centred approach.
For this reason, it is key that trade unions continue to ensure that their needs are taken into account in the design and implementation of national social protection policies. With this goal in mind, the Workers Network will facilitate exchanges of successful and less successful stories from which workers’ organizations can draw useful lessons to move forward.
ACTRAV INFO: What are the goals of this meeting?The meeting emphasizes three topics, namely closing gender gaps in social protection, extending social protection coverage to those in the informal economy, and finding the fiscal space for social protection. These topics are key to achieving universal access to comprehensive, adequate and sustainable social protection, in line with ILO social security standards, the 2019 ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work and the Agenda 2030.
Panellists are invited to share with the participants their experiences in these areas, in order to stimulate an open debate and a fruitful exchange. Participants will have the opportunity to express their views and ask questions. The meeting is intended to be highly interactive and participatory, and to lay the foundations for follow-up discussions and actions on social protection at national and regional levels.
ACTRAV INFO: After this global meeting, what are the next steps towards achieving the extension of social protection for all, in particular for those who work in the platform economy and the informal economy?With a view to achieving social protection for all, workers’ representatives can make a vital contribution to informed policy discussion and their implementation at national level. To that end, they need to know which social protection policy options are the best for their country, and they need to be aware of the implications of each option for social protection coverage and benefits. In fact, sound technical knowledge among workers’ representatives contributes to the development and implementation of national social protection policies and legal frameworks that are in line with ILO social security standards, as recently reaffirmed in the Resolution and Conclusions concerning the second recurrent discussion on social protection (social security), adopted by the tripartite constituents at the International Labour Conference in June 2021.
ACTRAV stands ready to support workers’ organizations in their efforts to contribute effectively to the development and consistent implementation of social protection policies that are universal, comprehensive, adequate and sustainable.