Switzerland a candidate for the presidency of the International Labour Organization’s Centenary Conference

Bern, 15.05.2019 - The Federal Council has confirmed that Switzerland is a candidate for the presidency of the 108th session of the International Labour Conference (ILC; Centenary Conference), which will be held from 10 to 21 June 2019 in Geneva. The Federal Council has also appointed the members of the tripartite delegation (employers, workers, government) which will be representing Switzerland at the ILC.

The ILC intends to adopt a Centenary Declaration aiming to embed the ILO’s future action in its social justice mandate. This declaration will be based in particular on the report by the Global Commission on the Future of Work.[1] As well as giving its support to the Centenary Declaration, Switzerland backs the ILO’s intention to draw up a convention and a recommendation on violence and harassment in the world of work, since a joint approach in international leadership is required to tackle this problem.

Federal Councillor Alain Berset, Head of the Federal Department of Home Affairs, will represent the Swiss government and Switzerland as the seat of the ILO, and will give a speech at the opening ceremony on 10 June 2019.

On 18 June 2019, Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin, who as Head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research is the minister responsible for labour, will give a speech to the conference on the future of work. He will also host the centenary reception organised by Switzerland for the ILC delegates.

Switzerland is putting forward Ambassador Jean-Jacques Elmiger, Head of International Labour Affairs at the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), as its candidate for the presidency of the ILC, with the title of State Secretary.

The government delegation will be led by Boris Zürcher, Head of Labour Affairs at SECO, who will receive the title of State Secretary for the duration of the conference. The employers’ delegation will be led by Blaise Matthey, Director General, Fédération des entreprises romandes (Federation of Companies in French-speaking Switzerland), Geneva, and the workers’ delegation by Luca Cirigliano, Central Secretary, Confederation of Swiss Trade Unions, Bern.

The ILO is celebrating its centenary this year. Switzerland is a founding member of the organisation, which has been headquartered here since its beginnings in 1919. The ILO is the oldest UN System institution based in Geneva. The establishment of the ILO in Geneva was a crucial step in the development of multilateralism and International Geneva in the 20th century.

[1] https://www.ilo.org/global/topics/future-of-work/publications/WCMS_662440/lang--fr/index.htm

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