18th American Regional Meeting

ILO Director-General calls for the Americas to work towards social justice

Guy Ryder warns the informal economy poses a formidable challenge to moving towards fair and sustainable development in the Americas and says it is not about the quantity, but the quality of jobs, at the opening of the 18th American Regional Meeting of the ILO.

News | 13 October 2014
ILO Director General, Guy Ryder and President of Peru, Ollanta Humala
LIMA - Unemployment is merely the most visible labour challenge in the Americas, said the Director-General of the International Labour Organization, Guy Ryder, during the opening of the 18th American Regional Meeting, which was attended by the President of Peru, Ollanta Humala.

"Informality is a labour issue which is very relevant to this region. It is not about the quantity, but the quality of jobs," said Ryder. "The informal economy poses a formidable yet unavoidable challenge, in order to move towards a future of sustainable and equitable development."

According to the latest ILO data, there are 130 million workers in the informal sector in the region, representing almost 47 per cent of the population.

"Formalized work leads to growth, social inclusion and sustainable development and this is true for all countries," said Ryder, who emphasized social dialogue as a key tool in advancing formalization.

"This culture of dialogue should always be characterized by full respect for fundamental principles and rights at work. This is essential to restore and strengthen the culture of dialogue in the region, which can only be achieved in a climate of mutual trust."

For his part, President Humala said, "if we keep alive our efforts to encourage the creation of decent work and working conditions established in accordance with the principles enshrined since the creation of the ILO, it is necessary and urgent to attack the problem of inequality via inclusive public policies."

"This involves improving or creating new mechanisms for these purposes, to generate balance in our labour markets, in a more fair and equitable way for workers and firms," Humala said.

Ryder also invited countries in the region to join the Friends of Decent Work, an initiative launched last month in New York whose goal is to make productive employment and decent work one of the objectives of the post 2015 development agenda.

"There is a will amongst governments in the region and employers’and workers’ organizations to place decent work as a goal, tackle informality and to improve the conditions of employment of young people," said Ryder.

"Faced with the persistence of inequality, work towards social justice," said Ryder.

The 18th American Regional Meeting held in Lima, Peru, brings together over 450 delegates from the Americas, including labour ministers, government officials and leaders of trade unions and employers’organizations.

Besides informality, other important issues to be discussed are youth employment, social security, strengthening labour institutions and employers’and workers’ organizations, the need for further progress in respect of labour rights, the promotion of sustainable enterprises and the challenge of social dialogue.

The ILO regional meeting runs until Thursday.

Press contact:

Luis Cordova, press officer for the ILO, +511 6150386, +51 989301246, cordova@ilo.org
Alejandro Iturrizaga, assistant press ILO, +511 6150301, +51 99401775, iturrizaga@iloguest.org