Antti Palolas speech in Seminar on Decent Work


I would like to thank president Halonen for the opening words and Director General Ryder and minister Lindström for their introductions.

President Halonen took up many important questions. I share her view that Social Development Goals have potential to become one of the most important Declarations for the 21st Century. Important issue in this Declaration compared to the earlier Declarations is the strong status that decent work has in the document.

We can say that as a result of globalization also international division of work is in turning point. Globalization has many positive affects – as i.g. we have seen in Finland during the previous decades – but for us trade unionists the important goal is to make sure that there is also the social dimension within the globalization. The Report of The World Commission from 2004 is valuable document which helps us now to continue this work. Like president Halonen said in her speech we in Nordic countries are not immune to these fundamental changes which are going on all around the world. Even if we sometimes like to think so.

The other point which I also fully agree is that Gender is a major aspect in decent work. Almost all the points that president Halonen mentioned in her presentation are more or less reality also in Finland. It means that we still have very much work to do with this goal.

For president Halonen I wish all the best in the work to prepare indicators to Social Development Goals. These indicators finally give meaning and effectivity to the whole process.

General director Ryder spoke about the huge challenges that ILO has with its target to gain decent work all over the world. One huge challenge among other challenges is the global supply chain or chains. Number of those chains is increasing all the time and their structures becomes more and more complicated.

Decent work in global supply chains was one of the themes in International Labour Conference this year.  I was happy to hear from one of the participants – our colleague and good friend Risto Kousa – that the work in Committee was quite constructive. There was common understanding that the topic is important and there is a need for better governance.  Of course there were also contradictions and disagreements and the report is a big compromise but so it goes in three partite cooperation.

Most important matter now is to look after that this report is not a final word about global supply chains but the work will continue and in coming years we have possibility to decide which kind of measures we have to prepare to help the decent work forward.

Finally I wish Director General Ryder all the best with preparations of ILO:s 100 years program.
Helsinki 13.6.2016

Antti Palola President of STTK