Voices from the World of Work: Garment factory workers in Jordan

The ILO has done a lot
for this world and for me. The most important thing it did
is give us one day off a week and make sure we work
for eight hours a day. The ILO works with the government and
it provided me, as a Syrian refugee, with a way to work legally
in a garment factory. The most important thing the ILO
has done for the world is to reduce child labour and give us
the salary we are entitled to. In my work,
people are the most precious element, and my duty is to make sure that
they are given the best conditions by observing the standards
set by the ILO. The world is changing
at a very fast pace, and the nature of employment
is changing accordingly. It will be difficult
for people to compete with artificial
intelligence in the future. So the work of the ILO
will also change. Instead of replacing
people with machines, we will request automation
to help humans perform and reach the best results. The world needs the ILO
to continue these projects, keep improving working conditions
and put an end to unemployment.

Global Wage Report 2018: What lies behind the gender pay gap.

This year’s global wage report explores the gender pay gap, a phenomenon which represents one of today’s greatest social injustices. Using data from about 70 countries, covering nearly 80% of wage employees worldwide, the report explores what lies behind the gender pay gap. First the report shows gender pay gaps are found just about in all countries. And on average women are paid 20% less than men across the world. And second, factors that often determine wages such as education don’t seem to explain the gender pay gap. However, our research shows that mothers are earning lower wages than non mothers. We call this the motherhood gap. We also see a tendency for wages to be lower in enterprises where the workforce is predominantly made of women. For example, in Europe wage employees in enterprises with a predominantly female workforce can earn four thousand US dollars less per year compared to those in enterprises with a similar productivity profile, but with a different gender mix. The report provides policy and recommendations that could help reduce the gender pay gap. Together with the empirical evidence we hope this contributes to the achievement of the sustainable development goal 8.5, which calls for equal pay for work of equal value in the framework of the United Nations agenda for 2030.

Caroline Casey, Founder “The Valuable 500” on business leadership and disability

There is an inequality crisis globally
facing disability. This can’t be resolved by governments or charities
alone. It needs the most powerful force on this planet which is business. But disability has been on the sidelines of business. We believe at The Valuable
500 it’s because we haven’t had leadership attention and intention. 56% of our global boards have never had a disability conversation. We know that
leaders make choices and choices create cultures. We know that we are in the shadow or the light
of a leader and we need leaders to release the potential into
their organizations to operationalize disability business inclusion. The Valuable 500 – which was launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos this year with our chairperson Paul Polman and our strategic partners One Young World,
Omnicom and the Virgin Media Group – exists to position disability equally on
the global business leadership agenda and to get business to equally include
disability as part of their inclusion and diversity agenda. Its aim is within
the year 2019 to get 500 of the world’s most influential brands and their CEOs
to create this critical mass – because it’s 500 – this critical mass,
this tipping point for change. We will report back on those organizations
in Davos 2020. I think we’re at an incredibly exciting time
at the moment, you can feel it. I mean I’ve been in the space of disability business inclusion
for 20 years and there definitely feels like there’s something finally happening. I think there’s three triggers for this. One is the younger generation and
their insistence upon being valued as unique and individual, equally, and their
their acceptance of difference. The second piece is this digital revolution
and social media is giving voice to so many people who never had it before. I think technology – I mean there’s no doubt that is a huge democratizer – so
there’s a lot going on. Also, I really believe around brands. So one of the things that I think is changing, speaking to CEOs around the world, is that
for a long time they never really saw the full business case. This is a business case around innovation and growth and talent and
brand and an eight trillion market. For too long disability had been
competing with other issues on the Diversity & Inclusion agenda, which is
just crazy. Why would we do that? I think leaders are finally seeing it now and I
think they’re actually seeing this as a point of growth and differentiation that hasn’t
been touched. What I am noticing, however, is there is still fear
around leaders and leaders defer to D&I or to their HR
people around this but I don’t believe that, first of all, inclusion is a D&I
conversation. It’s a leadership conversation, it’s a sustainability conversation, it’s a cultural conversation. When we ask
organizations to join The Valuable 500, the leaders go: “Of course, like why
wouldn’t I?” But the obstacle and the barrier is the system. The system that
still doesn’t understand the huge opportunity but it is changing and when
we see now on this day that we have just under 200 organizations globally signing
The Valuable 500, we are creating that FOMO – fear of missing out – that tipping
point for change and that’s exciting. Listen, we’re all on a journey together
and I think we’re gonna see a huge change in the landscape of the next 18
months. So, we’re here at the “Future of Work” conference in the ILO and, you know,
one of the things that I am concerned about is when we speak about the
employment of people with disabilities, there’s a few kind of misunderstandings. One is: of the 1.3 billion people in the world who have a disability, 80% of that
is invisible and 80% is acquired between the ages of 18 and 64. So, when we’re
talking about employment and work, we need to understand there’s a lot of people. I did not disclose my disability until 20 years ago. I’m registered blind, I was in
the closet for a long time. I “came out of the closet” 20 years ago in Accenture. The reason I didn’t talk about my disability was for fear of not being
allowed to do what I wanted to do or my talent or capability or potential or skills
to be recognized. That it would be distracted by this definition
of disability. So, I think we really need to understand that disability is not one
type of disability, it’s so many different identities, different
lived experiences and it can happen to anybody, okay? So this is the first part
about what we need to understand. The second piece around the “Future of Work”
we need to understand is people with disabilities have a very different way
of looking at the world and a very different way of of being in the world,
which I think is a great opportunity for growth and innovation around technology. We’ve got to remember the remote control was designed for visually impaired and
blind people and look, we all use it. At the very basis, I think people with
disabilities can really help around the idea of Universal Design or human-centered
design or Design for All which enables all of us to flourish, to
bring ourselves to work. The third thing I think we need to really
understand when we’re talking about the employment of people with disabilities
is until we attach this to a model of value, until we see the value model of
people with disabilities as consumers and suppliers and members of the
community and talent – why on earth would an employer who’s so
already overwhelmed with so much, who still doesn’t understand the business
case see it unless it’s connected to the full value chain. So when we’re talking about
the future of work for people with disabilities, we need to understand the
value chain and that’s why we call this “The Valuable 500”. We’re not asking
companies to do this because – I’m certainly not even trying to make
the case anymore for people with disabilities in the
future of work. There’s a risk now, there’s a risk to companies and to brands
not to include this talent, not to include this resourcefulness, to serve
consumers, to serve the new growth areas. It’s a risk to your brand. So, my invitation is to companies around the world: “Do you not want to get the first
mover advantage or be the early adopter?” – because it’s certainly there to take.

Displacement and disability no barrier to work for Syrian refugee

Outskirts of Zaatari
Refugee Camp, Jordan. Syrian Shaikha moved
to Jordan eight years ago to escape violence in her country. The 55-year-old suffers from hearing
loss which has worsened over time. A year ago she found
employment at a garment factory in Al Hassan Industrial Zone. Straight Line for Apparel Co,
Al Hassan Industrial Zone. The work has enabled Shaikha
to support her basic needs, including the upkeep
of her hearing aid. I came here for the hearing aid. I don’t understand anything
without the hearing aid. I have to buy batteries,
they are expensive. Shaikha was supported by the ILO
to find work at the factory where she is able to put
her sewing skills to use. She registered at one of the ILO’s
employment centres which help connect Syrian
refugees and Jordanians with employers in different sectors. There is no work at the camp. I would sign up in different
places but I never heard back. My sister is married to a Jordanian. She brought me here
(to the employment centre) and helped me register. They called me after one month. The centres ensured
that Shaikha’s needs were met, including finding appropriate
means of transportation to work and back daily. For Shaikha, her disability was
no barrier to finding a decent job, a regular income and independence. I want to continue working. I cry if I miss a day of work. Shaikha was supported
through EU-ILO activities that seek to promote employment
and advance decent work in Jordan’s manufacturing sector.

(Short version) Highlights from the World Employment Programme: Past, present and future event

1969 was 50th anniversary of the ILO.
There was the Nobel Peace Prize, but probably the most important marker of
the 50th anniversary was the World Employment Programme.
It had become more and more clear there was an employment problem and a poverty
problem. This was not solved by economic growth alone so you had to have economic
growth plus a pseudonym over the message, like income distribution and like
looking at creating employment for the people in the developing countries. It
was a highly respected source of policy innovation and one of the most important
development programmes of the whole international community. The whole World
Employment Programme was working on knowledge, on population, age, gender,
income distribution, employment, technology, rural economy, vulnerabilities,
basic needs – all things that are now in the latest literature on development.
Also, it kind of stressed the importance of the multiple dimensions of the
employment problem and gave us the comprehensive employment policy
framework which defines the work that we do today 50 years on. Since the end of
the World Employment Programme I think, as a young generation, we have been doing
our best, I guess, to defend what in actuality, World Employment Programme has achieved,
and so, in a sense, we are trying to very hard to defend your legacy.

Report in short: Employment trends for 2018

Economic growth has picked up
in many parts of the world and should remain fairly stable over
the next couple of years. But this will translate only partially
into better labour market prospects. On the upside,
for the first time in three years the global unemployment rate is set
to fall slightly, to 5.5 per cent in 2018. In developed countries in particular, the unemployment rate is projected to return to levels seen before
the economic crisis. However,
with more people looking for jobs, the number of unemployed
will remain high in 2018 at around 192 million people globally, with increases in emerging
and developing countries. Unemployment figures
though are not enough to gauge the true extent
of labour market challenges. It is the quality of jobs being created that remains
the most pressing issue worldwide. Progress in reducing vulnerable
employment has stalled since 2012. The ILO estimates that in 2017 more than 40 per cent of workers
were in vulnerable forms of employment. This means a total
of 1.4 billion workers globally. By 2019 there could be an additional 35 million
people in vulnerable employment. And although there are
fewer workers living in poverty, especially in emerging countries, the rate of decline
in these numbers is slowing. Improving the situation
of women in the world of work remains another daunting challenge. Women are more likely
to be unemployed and, when they are employed, they tend to work
more often in low-quality jobs in vulnerable conditions. This also means that women
often earn much less than men. Altogether these figures call
for strong targeted policy efforts to improve the quality of work and ensure that the gains of
economic growth are shared equally. This is becoming increasingly important as the global world of work
is undergoing significant changes. More and more people are leaving
agriculture and manufacturing for jobs in the service sector. Looking ahead, the projected
shifts to the service sector could create complex pressures on job quality- In fact, many jobs in the service sector
are either informal or vulnerable, especially in emerging and developing countries. To get the full picture of the world of work today, check out the ILO’s new report World Employment and Social Outlook
– Trends 2018.

How the 8-hour working day became a global labour standard in 1919

On the 28th of November 1919 in
Washington the first international labour standard of the ILO was adopted. The
hours of work industry convention 001 limited working time to eight hours a
day and forty-eight hours a week. An average work week for a full-time
manufacturing employee in the United States in 1890 was 100 hours. The origins of the movement for an eight-hour day began with the Industrial Revolution in
Britain. In 1817 British textile manufacturer Robert Owen raised the
demand and coined the phrase eight hours labour, eight hours recreation, eight hours
rest. The first piece of British legislation governing work hours was the
factory Act of 1833 limiting the work day for children in factories. In the
United States the Labor Reform Association founded in 1864 and the
Grande Eight-hour League of Massachusetts formed a year later became
the centres of the American movement. Meanwhile in Australia trade unionist
James Stephens led stonemasons in Melbourne to agitate for an eight-hour
working day, which they eventually won. With the growing integration of the
world economy and the development of the global trade union movement the call for
an eight-hour working day became global. By the start of the 20th century the
eight-hour work day was becoming a reality for more and more people and at
the end of the First World War eight-hour laws of varying scope had
been enacted across Europe. In the meantime the social situation was
explosive and labour unrest widespread. “Unrest so great that the peace and
harmony of the world are imperiled.” To face this challenge the International
Labour Organization was created in 1919 as part of the Treaty of Versailles.
The peace treaty included the declaration that “the adoption of an
eight hours day or a forty-eight hours week as the standard to be aimed at” was
of “special and urgent importance”. This urgent call was soon met at the
first session of the International Labour Conference in Washington in 1919 with the adoption of convention 001. A landmark for workers’ rights the
convention has had far-reaching impact on normalizing the eight-hour workday
and has been an enduring pillar of modern working life.