A significant step towards making occupational health and safety a fundamental workers’ right has been taken at the
International Labour Organization (ILO) Governing Body.
At its meeting last week, governments overwhelmingly supported worker members of the Governing Body to move ahead with
the process and it is expected that the decision will be formalised at the ILO Conference in 2022.
Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said: “We would like to have seen this year’s ILO Conference add health and
safety to the list of fundamental rights, but we appreciate the support of governments for it to happen next year. This
will mean greater accountability for governments and business for saving lives at work.
“It is all the more important given the terrible toll of the COVID-19 pandemic. Safe workplaces mean greater safety for
workers and for the public as well. Clear evidence is emerging around the world that most Covid outbreaks are occurring
in workplaces, including schools.”Support for the people of Myanmar
Other important developments at the Governing Body meeting included:agreement that the ILO will develop a Biological Hazards Convention;progress in ensuring decent work in global supply chains with the ILO to carry out a ‘gap analysis’ to address
governance challenges;progress made in the development of a road map to secure respect for international labour standards in Bangladesh, which
is rated as one of the ten worst countries for workers in the ITUC Global Rights Index
The Governing Body also overwhelmingly expressed support for the people and workers of Myanmar as the military’s
onslaught against them continues and called for the restoration of the democratically elected government.
The Workers’ Group of the Governing Body also adopted statements on Myanmar
and on vaccine equity