SANTIAGO (ILO News) – International Labour Organization (ILO) Director-General Juan Somavia has called for the creation of quality jobs as a key element of an economic recovery that is shaping up to be uncertain for the Latin American and Caribbean region and for the world as a whole.
Speaking on the opening day of the 17th American Regional Meeting of the ILO, taking place in Santiago on 14-17 December, Mr. Somavia said that quality of employment is just as important as the creation of employment itself.
“The quality of employment determines the quality of a society”, said Mr, Somavia. “Giving up this idea means condemning millions of workers to an uncertain future. This will only help to perpetuate the cycle of poverty across generations”.
Mr. Somavia warned that even though Latin America and the Caribbean have recovered from the crisis more quickly than other parts of the world, the region faces a future of economic and labour uncertainty.
“The future looks uncertain, not only for the rest of the world but for the Latin American and Caribbean region as well”, said Mr. Somavia.
The Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLAC) presented a document on Monday showing that the region’s economic output is expected to slow down from 6 per cent in 2010 to 4.2 per cent in 2011.
Mr .Somavia expressed particular concern about the need to protect and create jobs for young workers, whose unemployment rate is three times higher than that of adults.
“Just like the quality of employment defines the quality of a society, the future of a society is determined by the employment of its young workers”, said Mr. Somavia. “An economy that is not able to provide jobs to its youth is an economy that steals away their future and that lets down families and the society as a whole”.
According to Mr. Somavia, protecting and fostering youth employment, as well as promoting decent work and quality jobs, will help fight social and economic inequality, which is the greatest pending assignment the region was facing even before the crisis started.
On the other hand, Mr. Somavia highlighted the role most of the regional countries played during the crisis by implementing countercyclical policies and protecting and promoting employment.
The ILO’s latest data published ahead of the regional meeting shows that the urban unemployment rate for Latin America and the Caribbean in 2010 has returned to its pre crisis level.
The ILO Regional Meeting brings together ministers of Labour and Employment as well as workers’ and employers’ leaders from 35 countries in the Americas.