ILO Centenary Declaration: Cooperatives call for people-centred business models for a fair, secure, and inclusive Future of Work

16 May 2019

The International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) welcomes the human-centered agenda advocated in the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Centenary outcome document released on the 13 May. Aside from the commitment to reducing inequalities amongst vulnerable groups, the draft declaration calls for the safeguarding of a “fairer, more inclusive, and more secure future of work” for all by ensuring good governance in ILO processes and for ensuring “adequate protection of all workers” through the implementation of the Universal Labour Guarantee.
However, the ICA regrets the lack of acknowledgement of cooperatives as a specific type of sustainable enterprise: one that is responsible for a large proportion of global employment, generating decent work and continuously experimenting with new ways of working – whereas other types of enterprise are mentioned. Being fully engaged in labour standards, the ICA wishes to point out that last year, the cooperative movement gave itself the task to “respect, promote, and act diligently to support the fundamental tenets of decent work” through the ICA Declaration on Decent Work and Against Harassment.
Moreover, the draft declaration fails to address the issue of how ILO constituents can achieve “the reduction and eventual elimination of informality” and the role of cooperatives in this regard. Cooperatives are a recognised tool in the pathway towards formalising the informal economy and – more broadly – also in contributing to sustainable development, peace, and equality.

A call to ILO constituents
As a global actor that provides jobs or work opportunities to 10% of the total world employed population, whilst generating decent and stable work and collective wealth both in urban and rural areas, the cooperative movement calls on all ILO constituents:
•    to ensure that the key role of cooperatives in achieving a decent, human-centred work agenda is well-reflected in the upcoming ILO Centenary Declaration on the Future of Work and;
•    to prioritise people-centred business models, and in particular cooperatives, for a fair, secure and inclusive Future of Work!

The ILO Centenary outcome document has now been submitted to the Committee of the Whole for the upcoming International Labour Conference (10 to 21 June) where there will be negotiations on the ILO Centenary Declaration on the Future of Work for further consideration.


Photo: FUCVAM – Cooperativas de Vivienda por Ayuda Mutua