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Targets to counter the changing nature of work

Labour Minister Zeta Emilianides at the workshop on Wednesday

How the future of work will be impacted by digital and robotic technology was the focus of a workshop organised on Wednesday by the labour ministry and the University of Nicosia to mark 100 years since the International Labour Organisation (ILO) was founded in 1919.

Addressing the workshop, Labour Minister Zeta Emilianides referred to the ILO’s report on the Future of Work, according to which more than 50 per cent of existing jobs will be affected.

She highlighted three of the report’s targets: first, investment in people; second, investment in work structures, and third, investment in decent and sustainable work.

In a video message, director-general of the ILO Guy Ryder stressed that a viable project for the future of work needs to be built, noting that “rapid changes in our world are putting pressure on already challenged labour markets in many countries”.

“Societies are experiencing fundamental transformation driven not only by technological advances but also by demographic employment change and globalisation,” he said. “Polarisation and widening inequality is already evident in the labour market of a number of countries and that includes Cyprus that was hit hard by the impact of the financial crisis some years ago.”

Ryder said that Cyprus and the ILO have an excellent cooperation that has been strengthened since 2013 especially on social dialogue, youth employment, labour inspection and noted that the organisation is now assisting Cyprus in its efforts to establish a national minimum wage.

The report of the ILO’s Global Commission on the Future of Work proposes a human centred agenda that places people and the work that they do at the centre of economic and social policy and business practices. This agenda has three priorities for action. First, increasing investment in peoples’ capabilities so that they can take advantage fully of the real opportunities that the future of work offers by supporting them through the multiple transitions that they will increasingly face over the course of their working lives. The second priority is to increase investment in the institutions of work and third is to increase investment in decent and sustainable work, the jobs of the future.

“The challenge facing us all today is to reinvigorate the social contract that first took shape in 1919 with the foundation of the ILO,” Ryder said, adding that Cyprus was well placed to meet that challenge, as it had a strong tradition of social partnership.

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