UN labour agency meeting to address mass global unemployment

The three-day Forum, which opens on Thursday with an address by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, will mark the first tripartite gathering of governments, workers and business addressing employment issues since the 11 September attacks severely disrupted the labour market and accelerated a widespread economic downturn. “In the face of the first synchronized world recession of the globalization era, we need a global stimulus package to combat the crisis,” said ILO Director-General Juan Somavia. “The ILO is looking for a coordinated response from UN agencies, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to integrate global and national policy for creating jobs.” The ILO estimates that due to the attacks, 24 million extra jobs will be lost next year, plus nearly 9 million in the hotel and tourism industry if the slump continues. Even before 11 September, the world was facing a major “decent work deficit,” Mr. Somavia said. Today there are some 1 billion people who are unemployed, underemployed or working poor, while 80 per cent of people of working age have no access to basic social protection. “All this together represents a major crisis of human security,” said the ILO Director-General. “Too many people feel they have lost control of their own destiny.”

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