World must tackle ‘globalization without social justice’ – UN official

10 June 2008 – The international community urgently needs to take counter measures to head off “globalization without social justice,” according to the head of the United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO).

“Globalization without social justice… is generating growth without enough quality jobs…a steady increase in productivity, but not in wages… advances in combating extreme poverty, but deepening inequality,” Juan Somavia, ILO Director General said yesterday in his keynote address to the 97th International Labour Conference in Geneva.

Mr. Somavia said the ILO had a unique opportunity to play a central role in an emerging system of global governance which combined financial stability and investment for development with fair trade and decent work.

Addressing the current financial problems on world markets, he said “We have heard much about the subprime financial crisis. But there is also what I would call a crisis of “subprime work” – substandard and vulnerable jobs – without fundamental rights, without basic security, without prospects for mobility and dignity.”

Mr. Somavia argued in his speech that the international community needed to build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – a set of anti-poverty targets to be achieved by 2015 – by developing a comprehensive “social floor” to prevent people from falling into destitution and to help them overcome poverty and move up the ladder of opportunity.

“We can significantly expand employment opportunities for the 3 billion people living in poverty,” he said. “We can help move to a jobs-intensive and sustainable growth pattern. We can consolidate respect for rights and dialogue as a productive road to peace,” he added.


News Tracker: past stories on this issue

Year-long UN campaign spotlights gender equality in the workplace

Related Stories