COVID-19 underscores need for solidarity, says ILO’s Guy Ryder
MANILA – With the annual May Day celebration, known as International Workers’ Day, International Labour Organization’s Director-General Guy Ryder said the pandemic devastated the world of work as it destroyed jobs, enterprises and livelihoods that resulted into widespread poverty and development in reverse.
In a statement from ILO General Headquarters in Geneva and released early Saturday morning in Manila, Ryder said as in most crises, the pandemic “has hit the weakest and more vulnerable, the hardest, making an unequal world even more unequal.”
He said the pandemic and its costs remind everyone of the need for global interdependence which applies to health “as much as it does to our working lives.”
“No one is safe until everyone’s safe,” he added and emphasized nobody can afford to remain indifferent to the prevailing conditions as it would endanger the interdependent world everyone built.
Director-General Ryder said solidarity would be required for everyone’s survival and prosperity “within borders and across borders.”
He emphasized what is needed is a “human-centred recovery” where justice and equity would prevail, a sustainable and inclusive recovery.
“Building back better means making deliberate and coherent policy choices: to generate jobs and do a short, decent working conditions for everybody, to extend social protection, to protect workers’ rights and to use social dialogue,” he further said.
May Day would offer the time to recall the historic struggles that resulted in hard-won gains and today, extra ordinary efforts are made by people in the world of work to beat COVID-19.
“We salute them, just as we mourn those who have lost their lives, but, we must never sacrifice our values of social justice, nor our fundamental rights at work, nor our determination to build the better future which, is the meaning and purpose of those who have celebrated May Day around the world for so many years,” he said.
Amid the pandemic, Director-General Ryder said there are new possibilities that need to be pursued with the opportunity “to rethink and make new choices and new commitments for people, for planet and for prosperity.”
He called on everyone, workers, employers, governments and international organizations, including people with commitment to building back better “to join forces, to bring in a world of work with justice and dignity for all.” (Melo M. Acuña)
ILO Director-General Guy Ryder. (ILO website photo)