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"150 Million People Unemployed in the World" - ILO Official

Jan 20, 2009, 5:42 AM | Article By: Nfamara Jawneh

Ms Cecile Balima-Vittin, an international Labour Standards Senior Specialists, based at the ILO Sub-Regional Office in Dakar, Senegal has revealed that there are 150 million people currently unemployed, a figure she saidmay grow to more than a billion if you include the underemployed. Employment gap is a fault line in the global economy she noted.

The International Labour Organization ILO Official made these remarks yesterday at the Senegambia Beach Hotel at the opening ceremony of a three-day training workshop on ILO constitutional reporting.

"Work is probably the most important single element that affects the life of individual human beings. It is critical to one's identity and future, it is the principal means by which people connect to their communities and to the wider economic system," she said. Work, she continued, is also the primary route out of poverty. "We know only too well how the absence of work can breed dissatisfaction and extremism, and ultimately threaten social cohesion by eroding the very values upon which sound economies and open societies are based," said Madam Cecile.

She said since 1991, the ILO has maintained and developed a system of International Labour Standards aimed at promoting opportunities for women and men to obtain decent and productive working conditions of freedom, equity, security and dignity.

According to her, The Gambia joined the ILO in 1995 and has ratified eight conventions and is in force. These include the force Labour Convention, Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize Convention, Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention and Abolition of Force Labour Convention.

Deputizing the Secretary of State for Trade, Industry and Employment, Mr. Abdou Colley, his permanent secretary, Yusupha Kah, said that respect for the principles and rights enshrined in the fundamental conventions of the ILO has always been a prime concern of the Gambian government.

He said that due to inadequate staff in the Employment Unit of the Department of State and a lack of capacity and co-ordination amongst other stakeholders' agencies of the government they have not been consistent with their submission of reports on the ratified and unratified ILO conventions.

He said that it's against this background that the department requested the workshop to build the capacities of the social partners namely the government, employers and workers organizations to respond positively to the reporting obligations of The Gambia to the ILO. He thanked the ILO for their co-operation and technical support to The Gambia in her drive to maintain social justice and eradicate poverty.