Meeting of the International Labour Organisation in Oslo

12 Apr 2013

A loss of confidence from European citizens in the institutions, the serious issue of unemployment and the highly anticipated return to a genuine social dialogue were among the main themes of the ILO conference. CESI President Romain Wolff participated in the conference which took place in Oslo from 8th April to 11th April.

Meeting of the International Labour Organisation in Oslo

Workers´ representatives stated that the crisis had yet to be overcome. The crisis is also a crisis of citizens’ confidence in politics. Through significant measures of budgetary austerity, reduced economic growth and a reduction in Member States´ fiscal receipts, feelings of injustice have been fuelled within workers who themselves are paying for a crisis for which they are not responsible.

“The strengthened gap between the populations of European countries and their political representatives must be substantially reduced”, noted CESI President Romain Wolff.

The unhealthy situation has currently developed in which Europe is no longer the paradise of social dialogue it once was. This situation must be rapidly reversed.

Romain Wolff added: “Europe must once again, and as quickly as possible, display a social dialogue worthy of the name. It is unbearable to me that this dialogue is threatened in many countries; Europe has to return to these sources in order to reestablish the trust of its citizens in the institutions. Only in this way can the search for fair and viable solutions to the most pressing problems really begin.”

One of these problems, if not the most serious, is that of unemployment in general and of young people in particular. Youth unemployment has increased dramatically and many young people flee the countries most affected by the crisis in search of jobs elsewhere, often taking jobs which are below their level of qualification. This “brain drain” inevitably leads to a loss of real skills for the countries concerned, skills which will be sorely missed when there is a return to levels of growth.

Economic growth should inevitably go hand in hand with social progress. With this in mind, CESI is resolutely in favour of reestablishing a strong social dialogue and against a policy too focused on austerity in the majority of countries in Europe, which has resulted in a persistently negative impact on growth and employment.

CESI is in favour of more fiscal fairness and fiscal equity, more quality jobs with decent salaries and less unstable jobs, the reestablishment of social stability and better protection of workers’ rights.

In the absence of miracles, above all in rapidly reducing the enormous unemployment rate in a large part of Europe´s countries, and in order to prevent serious social troubles, the right responses will have to be found quickly through social dialogue and through social partners, an area in which CESI and its member organisations have an important role to play.