At the ILO’s 2009 International Labor Conference, which took place in Geneva June 2 to 19, governments, employers and trade unions adopted a Global Jobs Pact outlining the role of the ILO in economic recovery worldwide. This came on the heels of a “Global Jobs Summit,” where 17 heads of state shared their perspectives on the global jobs crisis.
“The Global Jobs Pact is a resource of practical policies that will enable each country to formulate a package specific to its situation and priorities,” according to USCIB Executive Vice President Ronnie Goldberg, who serves as the American employer member of the ILO’s governing body. She said delegates also began work on an ILO recommendation to governments on HIV/AIDS in the workplace, and held a discussion on gender issues.
In keeping with the tripartite structure of the ILO, representatives of governments, business and labor participated in all of these discussions. The U.S. employers delegation, organized by USCIB and led by Ed Potter (Coca-Cola), also included Ms. Goldberg, Paurvi Baht (Levi Strauss), Margaret Hart Edwards (Littler Mendelson), and John Raudabaugh (Baker & McKenzie).
During the discussion on HIV/AIDS, employers stressed the primary responsibility of the health sector in this area of policy making and allocation of resources. Workplace policies and responses must be in support of national responses to HIV/AIDS, business representatives said, and ILO work in this field must take place in the context of international cooperation, in particular with the World Health Organization and UNAIDS. The ILO Code of Practice on HIV/AIDS, which has the support of both employers and workers, remains an essential reference document. The debate will continue at the 2010 ILO conference.
Staff contact: Ronnie Goldberg