The ILO at 90 – needed in crisis, ignored in the good times
I’m blogging from the ILO 90th anniversary event in Admiralty House. A year ago, the ILO was facing a mixture of hostility and indifference from some Governments and employers. Now, with the economic crisis at full throttle, the ILO is back on the global agenda. It has been given a distinct job in the London Summit communique to formulate what is effectively a ‘plan for jobs’.
This echoes the key role the ILO played in the recovery plans after the First and Second World Wars, in combating the economic crises of the 1930s and 1970s, and helping to create free trade unionism in the aftermath of the Cold War.
In these moments of crisis, the value of having the ILO is clear, and it gets given an appropriate role. But in between these crises, some people argue that its work is irrelevant, its Conventions outdated. Maybe if people paid more attention to the ILO outside of crises, those crises could be avoided, prevented or at least mitigated.