Future of work to place youth, women at centre

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa

It can no longer be business as usual when it comes to the creation of a just, humane and inclusive world of work for all.

Young people, women and people with disabilities must be at the centre of efforts by the global community for social justice as it responds to the challenges of a rapidly transforming world of work.

“The Future of Work will enhance the involvement of women, young people and disabled people in the world of work and how they can participate in a much more effective way. This concept will also, and most importantly, assist in creating more jobs, generating growth and increasing fairness,” said President Cyril Ramaphosa.

He was speaking in Geneva, Switzerland, at the International Labour Organisation’s Global Commission on the Future of Work, which he co-chaired with Prime Minister of Sweden, Stefan Löfven.

President Ramaphosa described his appointed to the commission as an opportune moment for South Africa, as it is a chance for the country to be part of crafting the desired future of work.

The third meeting of the commission considered the Framework on the Global Commission’s Final Report.

According to the Presidency, the commission was emphatic that in recognising and preparing government, business and workers for the future of work, it is incumbent on all social partners to regard people as assets rather than expenses. This requires a new global social contract for creating and distributing value in the economy, including collaboration on enhancing productivity and reducing inequality.

The commission also seeks to develop appropriate responses by the global community to address inequality and informality of work.

The high level global commission, which comprises experts from government, business and labour, was established by the ILO in 2017 to assess the rapid transformations taking place in the global economy and world of work. It is meant to identify key challenges and thereafter make recommendations.

The work of the commission aligns with government’s focus on the creation of decent and sustainable jobs, and efforts to ensure young South Africans have the skills necessary to thrive in the changing workplace.

South Africa’s co-chairmanship will see the President being one of the Heads of State to lead the centenary celebrations at the International Labour Conference, which will take place in June 2019.