PRESS RELEASE BY THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT President George Vella addresses global leaders at 108th ILO Conference ‘Work for a Brighter Future’

President George Vella addressed heads of states and leaders of international organisations at the centenary session of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva, Switzerland. This session brought together governments, employers, and workers’ representatives who have long dedicated themselves to achieving decent work for all within the context of an ever-evolving and at times unpredictable future of work.

In his opening statement, the President referred to the centenary of the ILO and lauded its “untiring contributions and initiatives directed at a brighter future for workers across the globe”.

“There can never be lasting peace or stability without social justice”

President Vella expressed his steadfast conviction, built throughout his political and medical careers, of the necessity of social justice, and how there “can never be lasting peace or stability without social justice”. In this context, he referred to the concept of labour rights as “a prerequisite not only for any society’s economic growth, but also its security”.

“We need to ensure that nobody is left behind. I call this ethical leadership”

Sustainable economies that deliver results to all citizens ensure that nobody is left behind. This is the essence of what President Vella termed “ethical leadership”. This style of leadership embraces the commitment of safeguarding dignified work for each and every worker, “be they Maltese, foreign, or migrant workers” � a theme he referred to during his inauguration speech as President on April 4th.

The President went on to refer to the positive economic growth of the Maltese economy. This makes the country “best-placed to achieve social justice for present and future generations”, the President continued. Having the fastest-growing economy in the European Union provides the country with the opportunity to be proactive in shaping the future of employment.

Measures taken to implement social justice and social inclusion

President George Vella stressed that the “unwavering principles of social justice, social inclusion, and social mobility” are geared towards “making work pay”.

The President continued by referring to statistics that show how over 600 million new jobs need to be created by 2030 just to keep pace with the growth of the global working age population, and how there are some 780 million women and men who are working “but not earning enough to lift themselves and their families out of two US dollars a-day poverty”.

The 4th Industrial Revolution

President Vella referred to the fourth industrial revolution driven by artificial intelligence and automation. This makes it all the more imperative for us to “strengthen and safeguard the fundamental human rights of all workers, independently of their age, gender, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation”, the President said.

President Vella concluded by reminding everyone present that leaders’ aims should be to transition to this new world of work “fairly and justly”, and how such a global forum as the ILO provides the “opportunity to shape not just the year aheadbut the next century of progress and success of the International Labour Organisation”.

Source: Government of Malta