The ILO is a value-based organization. Founded in 1919, its Constitution states that “universal and lasting peace can be established only if it is based upon social justice”.
The Declaration of Philadelphia (1944) recalls that “labour is not a commodity”, and that “freedom of expression and of association are essential to sustained progress”. It adds that “all human beings, irrespective of race, creed or sex, have the right to pursue both their material well-being and their spiritual development in conditions of freedom and dignity, of economic security and equal opportunity”.
The 2008 Declaration on Social Justice for Fair Globalization recalls these principles and invites organizations to engage in new partnerships to promote the Decent Work Agenda.
In this context, the ILO has continuously interacted with value-based and faith-based organizations, provided that they respect the values enshrined in the ILO’s Constitution. Many of them are included in the ILO Special List of NGOs.
Several projects have been based on this convergence of values.
Inter-religious platforms have been established in three countries (Senegal, Ethiopia and Chile) to promote the Decent Work Agenda within religious communities.
In 2011 a small handbook was published: Convergences : Social justice and decent work in religious traditions is the result of interactive seminars organized in Geneva, Santiago, Addis Ababa and Dakar over the course of 2011, with the sponsorship of the World Council of Churches, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO).
A global dialogue was organized in Geneva in 2004, resulting in the publication of a book Philosophical and spiritual perspectives on Decent Work.
This handbook demonstrates that in different religions and spiritual traditions there is great convergence of values on the subject of work. Human dignity, solidarity and above all the connection between work, social justice and peace put us on common ground.
How do different religious traditions view the world of work and can they play a part in promoting ILO core values? A new publication entitled “Convergences: Decent work and social justice in religious traditions”, explains the positions of various religious traditions regarding social justice and decent work issues. The ILO’s special adviser for socio-religious affairs, Pierre Martinot-Lagarde spoke to ILO Online.
Describing the findings of a one-year research programme and a related seminar, this book presents a fascinating convergence of views regarding key questions of dignity and the rights of human beings at work, and regarding work itself. While they bear witness to the universal nature of the Decent Work Agenda, they also offer important insights for further implementing this agenda in the real world.