The 12th Session of the Labour Assembly convened in Ankara on 23 May 2019 with the participation of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Director-General of International Labour Organization (ILO) Guy Ryder.
The report “Work for a Brighter Future” prepared for ILO centenary was on the agenda of the 12th Session of the Labour Assembly organised by the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Services under the auspices of the Presidency of the Republic.
Starting with the opening remarks by the Minister of Family, Labour and Social Services Zehra Zümrüt Selçuk, President Erdoğan and ILO Director-General Ryder, the session drew a broad participation from the representatives of governments, workers and employers, non-governmental organisations and academicians.
President Erdoğan stated that it was commendable that International Labour Organization marked its Centenary. Reminding that as an older organisation than its umbrella organisation United Nations, the International Labour Organization undertook significant activities on raising awareness, setting and implementing standards for employment and conditions of work across the world, he thanked thank ILO for their contribution to our work life addressing such issues as child labour, women’s employment, youth employment, combating informal employment, occupational safety and health.
Noting that “Work for a Brighter Future” as the agenda for the session actually reflected the vision of the International Labour Organization, President Erdoğan said: “The world today discusses such issues as Industry 4.0, Society 5.0, Life 3.0, Fourth Revolution, Individual 4.0 etc. All these titles show that we are to experience radical changes in modes of production and therefore in work life. It is necessary to re-design employment in a world where human power is being replaced by machines and software.”
Minister Selçuk congratulated ILO for the Centenary, and stated that she viewed the Labour Assembly as an important social dialogue platform that brought together all constituents.
Thanking the representatives of the Government, employers and workers in Turkey for their commitment to ILO, Centenary and “Future of Work”, Ryder said: “Since 1932, the date of Turkey’s accession to the League of Nations and to the ILO, our relationship has intensified in recent years notably in areas, such as fundamental principles and rights at work, occupational safety and health and, of course, the integration of refugees into the labour market.”
Ryder noted that the meeting was a unique opportunity to draw some lessons from the shared history of ILO and Turkey. He continued:
“One hundred years ago, in the spring of 1919, as our ILO’s founders were establishing our Organization from the ashes of World War I, a group of soldiers, led by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, was starting your “Independence War”. The ILO was founded on a very simple but at the same time very powerful idea that universal and lasting peace is only possible if it is based on social justice. So, as we were starting our fight against social injustice throughout the world, Turkish people were starting their uprising against foreign invasion and their fight for their independent future. And here, let me express my congratulations to you for this past Sunday’s celebration of the Centenary of 19th May, the day Atatürk arrived in Samsun to start that War of Independence.”
Noting that it was also the start of tremendous political and social changes in Turkey from which the Republic of Turkey and a new society emerged, Ryder recalled that Ataturk launched a series of reforms focused on education, civil law, and women’s rights which opened the way for an initial contact with the newly-born ILO already in the 1920s.
Pointing out that a century later, the efforts continue to confront the challenges to the task of shaping a world of lasting peace, Ryder said: “It is for us to forge our future, the future of work and the future of our societies. Together, we share the responsibility of shaping a future that delivers economic security and social justice for all.”
Ryder: “Health and safety at work should become a new fundamental right”
Drawing attention to several key issues in the “Global Commission Report on the Future of Work”, Ryder indicated that the report called for a human-centred agenda for growth, development and work.
Noting that the first investment is in people’s capabilities, so that they can take full advantage of the real opportunities that the future of work offers, Ryder said: “The report calls for universal social protection from birth to old age. Bear in mind the fact that only 45 per cent of the world’s population is covered by at least one social protection benefit.” Ryder emphasised that the Commission also underlined the principles of lifelong learning and gender equality.
Recalling that the Commission’s recommendation that health and safety at work should become a new fundamental right, in addition to those already enumerated in the 1998 ILO Declaration, Ryder stated that thinking back on the tragic accident in Soma in 2015, along with too many others like it in the world, or nearly 3 million fatalities each year from occupationally-related injury or disease, the recommendation became all the more urgent and compelling.
Ryder also indicated that the report drew attention to the importance of collective bargaining and social dialogue.
Ryder: “I have personally seen Turkey’s approach to Syrians in my previous visits”
Expressing that he has personally seen Turkey’s approach to Syrians in previous visits, Ryder underlined that Turkey helped 3.6 million Syrians not only to survive, but to find a job and live in dignity.
Reminding the speech of President Erdoğan at the 73rd General Assembly of the United Nations that “it is impossible for any country to combat alone these challenges that threaten mankind’s common future and disrupt the search for a global justice”, Ryder said he would delighted to receive President Erdogan at the International Labour Conference in Geneva to address on its opening day.
The session continued with the panel “Work for a Brighter Future: Roles and Expectations of Workers and Employers.
– 12th session held after 4 years
The 12th Session of the Labour Assembly brought together workers, employers and all stakeholders of work 4 years after the last. The Labour Assembly works, as required by the social dialogue mechanism, as committees with the participation of public institutions, worker and employee organisations, public servants unions and scientists. An important social dialogue platform that brings together all parties to formulate policies on work life, the Labour Assembly first convened in 1947, with subsequent sessions in 1954, 1962, 1965, 1971, 1977, 1984, 1992, 2004, 2013 and 2015.
Ryder visits ILO Office for Turkey
After the session, ILO Director-General Guy Ryder visited the ILO Office for Turkey, and was briefed on its work. Ryder thanked Director of the ILO Office for Turkey Numan Özcan and team for their successful work.
Özcan presented Ryder the ILO100 stamp designed on the occasion of ILO Centenary.