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 By celebrating its 100 years anniversary, the ILO is putting its mark on one of the most celebrated pages of human history, illustrated by its fundamental declarations for a world where “work is not a commodity” and in which there is “no lasting peace without social justice” !

The 200 international labour standards, established in the tripartite system of Governments – Employers – Workers, are testimonies of the lucidity, courage and fertility of this “participative democracy”, unique within the United Nations. The eight ILO Fundamental Conventions set clearly as “banned by humanity” the “children and forced labour”, “disrespect of the collective bargaining rights” and “discriminations” of all sorts. The fruits collected from this ILO’s centenary are an invaluable set of tools that have been created to develop “decent work” in the 187 member countries !

Nevertheless, at the dawn of this second ILO’s century, the challenges faced by decent work are totally immune to borders between States and, as such, call for vigorous global actions in order that the “future of work” becomes truly “decent” for all. Indeed, worldwide subcontracting chains, as well as digitalisation and its uberized platforms, or environment responsibilities can “play” with national limitations. In the same way, “financial schemes”, “tax optimisation” and “informal work” find their way through every regulatory or geographical loopholes they can find, allowing very few to stockpile without limits … at the expenses of the universal common good.

The challenge for human dignity regarding work demands an active and unwavering awareness against all situations of social dumping and work deconstruction that take advantage of local or personal “disparities and selfishness” to circumvent the social justice so dearly built by ILO along the last 100 years.

Working on this global consolidation of “decent work” call us on treating the root causes of it and not limiting ourselves to the symptoms and lamenting about the consequences. ILO, WTO and IMF are called to build together, in the spirit of the United Nation “Sustainable Development Goals 2030”, a full coherence between regulations and governance of Work, Finance and Trade, serving humankind’s wellbeing. The regional states groups (In Europe, Asia, Africa and Americas) hold a key role to initiate the implementation of those transnational consistencies to encourage more solidarity and social justice. Finally, consumers must fully accept their immense, lucid and responsible, decisional power, which is the true engine of world economy, making it either “short lived and wasteful” or “sustainably social and inclusive”.

Powerful and concrete guidelines emerge, to empower this transition towards a true “ Future of work, decent for all ”:

Far to be one more advocacy paper sent to our “leaders”, this list of actions calls for all of us. These challenges are, equally, opportunities to be seized because (as said by G Rider, President of BIT at the opening of the Centenary) nor the robots nor artificial intelligence will craft tomorrow’s world, but only our decisions and courage to shape it with our own hands. While it is true that the goal is not simply to “adapt” to changes but to “lead” them, then, let us build the future of work that we want and that will leave no one behind !

All of us being responsible consumers, engaged citizens, working Christians united by the desire for the common good, especially in our fraternity as CIO’s, let us pool our resources together, across borders, to devote ourselves to those big projects for everyone on earth enjoying human dignity at work.  And as the voice of Nelson Mandela reminded us during the centenary’s ceremony : ”May our choices reflect our hopes, not our fears”