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Issue # 1399      18 February 2009

ILO issues warning on global crisis

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) warned last week that the global financial crisis is generating increasing social unrest and called for greater dialogue between governments, bosses and workers.

ILO chief Juan Somavia said that European and central Asian countries were heading into “a dangerous downward spiral” as their national economies go into recession.

The UN agency has warned that the downturn could put 50 million people out of work worldwide this year.

Speaking at an ILO regional meeting in Lisbon, Mr Somavia said: “I sense a huge popular frustration brewing.”

He pointed out that the economic meltdown is “provoking tensions, political uncertainties and even possible security risks.

“People are suffering, people are worried. They can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel,” Mr Somavia observed, stressing that economic stimulus packages must address people’s concerns about jobs and welfare, rather than just propping up banks.

He declared that the era of “neoliberal globalisation” was over.

“Now that neoliberal globalisation no longer exists, the European social model remains,” Mr Somavia said, adding that Europe should play a “bigger role” in easing the crisis.

“We have to put in place a dialogue in order to act better to soften the impact of the crisis through increased contact between governments, workers and employers,” he said.

The ILO chief emphasised that workers must be at the centre of government decisions on anti-crisis measures and that there should be a special UN council co-ordinating national responses to the economic downturn.

Morning Star

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