GENEVA , 30th May, 2016 (WAM) – Speaking on the opening day of the 105th International Labour Conference , the President of the Swiss Confederation, Johann Schneider-Ammann, called on the ILO’s constituents to engage in earnest consideration of the future of work and ensure they can occupy a central position in discussions of the measures required to prepare for the changes taking place.

“The standards supervisory system must be adapted to the realities of the world of tomorrow, so that the ILO can fully discharge its mandate for social justice in the twenty-first century,” he stated, announcing that Switzerland intended to be fully involved in the commemoration of the ILO centenary in 2019 and the future of work initiative launched at the same time.

Mr Schneider-Ammann recalled the role Switzerland has played since the ILO was founded, and underscored the values shared by his country and the ILO, in particular with regard to social justice.

“Switzerland is proud to have helped change the view of human beings as factors of production. With decent work, the ILO has placed the individual at the centre of economic activity in a spirit of solidarity,” he added.

Speaking as the President of the Swiss Confederation and as the Swiss ‘Minister for Economic Affairs and Labour’, Mr. Schneider-Ammann stressed several values shared in Switzerland, which can promote the economic growth needed to generate decent jobs. He referred in particular to macroeconomic and institutional stability, effective social dialogue, economic freedom, training and innovation, inclusive social protection, and – the linchpin – the social partnership between those with a stake in the world of work.

Recalling that the “future of work is jobs for the young,” Mr. Schneider-Ammann reiterated the need to invest in basic education and in the occupational training able to facilitate, in his words, “access to qualified, productive and lasting employment.” For that, he explained, enterprises have to play an active part in enabling the rapid integration of young people into the labour market.

The ILO had to be well prepared for the strategic issues linked to the future of jobs, in particular the growing weight of the digital economy, and Mr. Schneider-Ammann therefore concluded by inviting its constituents to act with “courage and innovation.” He suggested that the Global Jobs Pact adopted by the International Labour Conference in 2009 be updated.

In his message welcoming Mr. Schneider-Ammann, the ILO Director-General, Mr. Guy Ryder, commended Switzerland’s strong implication in the ILO.

“Switzerland and the ILO undeniably have much in common. We have shared principles of openness, dialogue and human dignity,” he stated.

President Schneider-Ammann’s visit to the ILC witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding, reinforcing Switzerland’s role at the ILO to promote poverty reduction, decent work in the service of peace, and social partnership.

Switzerland will finance ILO projects aimed at promoting economic productivity and guaranteeing that migrants have decent work conditions in developing countries and emerging economies.

That funding will also serve to support sustainable small and medium-sized enterprises prepared to tackle international competition. Lastly, it will aim actively to promote ILO programmes relating to labour migration and equitable recruitment practices, and to strengthen the contribution of migrant workers to sustainable development.

WAM/tfaham