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ILO says reforms should help fight poverty

Our Bureau

MANGALORE, Oct. 30

THE President of the Karnataka unit of the Indian National Trade Union Congress, Mr N.M. Adyanthaya, who was in Geneva to chair a meeting of the ILO's sectoral activities programme, said that ILO would henceforth try to play a more proactive role in the changed scenario of the global economy, especially in the context of one-third of the world's population living on less that a dollar a day.

He stated that globalisation, liberalisation and privatisation have led to job losses in the developing economies.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has resolved to promote `social dialogue at all levels' in the context of public service reform, including areas where decentralisation and privatisation take place or are envisaged.

In its joint meeting on the `Impact of Decentralisation and Privatisation on Municipal Services' held in Geneva from October 15-19, the ILO resolved that all `reforms' should ``facilitate sustainable local economic and social development which enhances t he goal of full employment and the alleviation of poverty.''

In its five-day meeting, the ILO, noting that decentralisation and privatisation are not ends in themselves but are means to ``fulfill the responsibilities of Governments'', also pointed out that ``account has to be taken of the stage of economic develop ment of countries and the situation of human needs in countries'' without insisting on a stereotypical, monolithic pattern of reform.

Emphasising the need for `social dialogue' to ensure the overall viability of the various processes of reform unleashed across the globe, the ILO has also focused on the various kinds of impact on employment and working conditions in poor countries. Acco rding to the ILO: ``In many cases of privatisation, working conditions have been affected negatively through reduced pay, increased working hours, shorter annual leave, reduced pension schemes, increase in part-time working and less security in employmen t contracts.''

Stating that newly-employed workers often face worse conditions than transferred staff, the ILO has also recommended that retrenchments should be avoided as far as possible and should be a `measure of last resort'. Unavoidable job losses, according to th e ILO, should be mitigated by retraining and redeployment schemes.

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