ILO entrance title, Geneva

While voting delegates are representatives of governments, employers organisations and Trades Unions from member states, non-governmental organisations—such as the WCC—can participate and engage as observers. The annual meeting of the International Labour Conference is effectively the “parliament” of the Geneva-based International Labour Organization, a specialised agency of the United Nations.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 109th Conference is being held online for the first time.

Rev. Matthew Ross, the WCC programme executive for Diakonia and Capacity Building, who is representing WCC at the conference, reflected: “The world of work is a vitally important part of human life, yet for many millions around the realities of poor pay, exploitation, dangerous conditions and unemployment need to be confronted.

“The word ‘work’ appears in the Bible hundreds of times in an era when injustices such as slavery were commonplace; examples such as Romans 4:4, ‘Now to one who works, wages are not reckoned as a gift but as something due’ remind us of the importance of dignity and fairness at work,” Ross said.

Ross added that it’s important for churches to engage in this process related to labour.

“The issue of decent and fair work – particularly in the challenges arising from COVID-19 – is of crucial importance,” said Ross. "This gathering gives national governments, employers’ and trades unions an important opportunity to discuss social justice and employment. With input from churches and others, this is an opportunity to promote fairness, good practices and social justice globally for the benefit of all.”

International Labour Organization

International Labour Conference