ILO Future of Work Commission is bold, political and challenges inequality. But we must tackle shareholder supremacy

The ILO Global Commission on the Future of Work today has called on governments to commit to a set of measures in order to address the challenges caused by unprecedented transformational change in the world of work.

Co-chaired by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Swedish Prime Minister, Stefan Löfven, the commission outlines a vision for a human-centred agenda that is based on investing in people’s capabilities, institutions of work and in decent and sustainable work.

Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam was part of the 27-member commission of senior figures from the world of business, government, academia, trade unions and civil society.

Her statement, on behalf of Oxfam, follows the launch of the Commission’s report:

“Our Global Commission’s report goes some way to challenging a deeply unequal economic model that fuels the wealth of the super-rich while crushing so many ordinary workers – most of all women – in poverty and suffering. It has been an honor to work with the ILO and to serve as part of this Commission to amplify those voices of workers living in poverty”.

“Oxfam’s report on inequality out this week shows that billionaire fortunes last year increased a rate of $2.5 billion dollars each day. The bottom half of humanity – 3.8 billion people, inclusive of workers whose work fosters prosperity but see so little of it – is getting far poorer”.

“The Global Commission's report is a bold and political report: one which sets out toward building a more human economy in which workers, women and men, in countries rich and poor, have every right to decent and dignified work and the freedom to pursue opportunity”.

“Governments must now act swiftly and decisively on its recommendations. The transformative agenda for gender equality, a Universal Labour Guarantee that enshrines workers’ rights and living wages, fortifying social protection, stronger worker control and thinking past GDP would all help make our world a more prosperous and fairer place”.

“While I welcome the report, we must not lose sight of where our Commission fell short. The obsessive fixation on creating profit for shareholders continues to be a fundamental barrier to decent jobs for workers that it has been for decades.”

“A human-centered agenda that benefits ordinary workers around the world will only be possible once we free business from the straitjacket of shareholder greed. We can transform business and the economy so that society’s interests are democratically-balanced, and profit is shared fairly”.

Notes to editors: 

The official press release and report for the ILO Global Commission on the Future of Work can be found here. The report was launched in Geneva on 22 January 2019.

Contact information: 

Nabil Ahmed,, +254 700809563

Follow on Twitter: @Oxfam.