THE ADDRESS OF HIS EXCELLENCY MR FARUK ÇELİK MINISTER OF LABOUR AND SOCIAL SECURITY IN THE HIGH LEVEL SESSION OF ILO GOVERNING BODY MEETING

FARUK ÇELİK 23.03.2015

(Unofficial Translation)

Dear Mr Chairman,
Honorable Ministers,
Distinguished Ambassadors,
Dear Director-General of ILO,
Dear Members of Governing Body,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

As a member of ILO Governing Body and as the representative of G20 Labour and Employment Ministers under Turkish Presidency, I am pleased to be with you in this high level activity.
I would like to thank Mr Director-General for his kind invitation and greet you with respect.

Dear Mr Chairman,
Dear Delegates,

Since the very beginning, human beings have been in a struggle for survival. This struggle for survival turned out to be closely linked with having a decent job and income especially after the Industrial Revolution. As you frequently discuss and agree under this house as well, employment strengthens personality, provides social inclusion and assures stability.


Unemployment, on the other hand, brings along exclusion of individuals and social unrests.
Today, the most important issue to be stressed is generating quality jobs. Still-continuing survey titled “My World”, which was initiated in 2012 by United Nations and participated by 7.2 million persons, dramatically presents this reality.

According to the results of the survey;
i.A good education,
ii.Better healthcare,
iii.Better job opportunities
are placed in the top three.

These three priorities are the reflection of the struggle of humankind for survival in our day and there are lessons to be drawn.
Expectations from the 21st century were high for all of us.

We had entered the new millennium with high hopes and ambitious goals. Unfortunately, this century also started with destructive and violent displays. In the centenary year of the First World War, our world still struggles against wars and crises. Global population exceeded seven billion.
However, the fact that wealth of the 85 richest persons equals to the total income of 3.5 billion persons constituting the half of the total population must worry all of us. Unfortunately, rich became richer while poor became poorer.

Dear Delegates,

- Every single night, one billion persons sleep hungry in the world.
- Global number of migrants exceeded 232 million.
- Natural disasters, climate change and ecocides negatively affected economies.
- Our world tries to overcome the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression.
- Growth rates are becoming sluggish and growth forecasts are being revised downwardly. (According to IMF, world economy will grow 3.5% in 2015)

Let’s see how employment and fundamental rights of the workers are affected in such an environment?
- According to ILO, global number of the unemployed rose by 31 million compared to pre-crisis level and reached to 201 million.
- Around 75 million young persons are unemployed.
- The participation rates of women to labour market are not in desired levels in some countries and this situation also negatively affects growth potential.
- If we also take hundreds of millions working under difficult conditions and living in extreme poverty into consideration, it is clear that the impact of the crisis is wider.
- In order to reach pre-crisis labour market conditions, 280 million new jobs have to be generated in the next 5 years.
- Labour productivity and contribution to growth is increasing while the share of workers in national income is not growing evenly, as a matter of fact it decreases in some occasions.
- Social dumping activities practiced in order to overcome the crisis create deterioration in the social rights of the workers.

This is the exact picture we have to face today.

Beyond doubt, it is not the picture expected by anyone for the 21st century. I hold the idea that in order to change this course of events not only the individual efforts of the countries but also the collective actions are needed to be manifested. The best example of this is the Millennium Development Goals of United Nations as also mentioned by Ms Amina Muhammed.
Up until now, progress and success to some extent is achieved thanks to the sincere efforts of the countries and new dimensions will be added to those achievements with the post-2015 agenda. I am sure that a better world will be realized for all. In this context, inclusion of an employment understanding focusing on “decent jobs” to the post-2015 agenda will be a promising development. I believe ILO can play a key role and have an invaluable contribution in this process.

Dear Mr Chairman,
Distinguished Delegates,

As I mentioned before, joint efforts constitute the core of struggle against crises. For instance, collective measures and coordinated works conducted by G20 countries against global financial crisis have softened expected negative impacts of crisis for many countries.

G20 countries, representing two thirds of world population and 85% of global economy, set one of the best examples of global solidarity. Turkey, as the holder of G20 presidency for 2015, has determined three main priorities to be addressed for this year. These priorities are formulated as three “I”s: Inclusiveness, Implementation and Investments for Growth. Investment is one of the absolute musts for growth.

Firstly, infrastructural investments will be conducted, then an inclusive employment setting will be achieved, labour income will be improved, thus production and consumption and consequently will increase, all of which will result in economic growth. Growth is to generate more investment.

What is crucial is to enable the sustainability of this cycle. During this year, we will also discuss how to create inclusive growth in G20 level.

Moreover, we will go beyond it and focus on how to fairly disseminate this growth to all over the world. Implementation is significant in terms of reflecting your credibility and decisiveness.
In G20 platform, many decisions and action plans have been adopted so far.

Some of them have been materialized but implementations of some, on the other hand, have not been monitored. We consider that it is time to convert discourse into actions for G20 states.

Distinguished delegates,

We carry out critical works as the Ministers of Labour in G20 platform. Since 2010, we have regularly convened and addressed issues concerning working life and employment. We have taken concrete steps and determine goals in many fields such as creating quality employment, increasing youth employment and participation of women to labour market, social protection, disseminating occupational health and safety measures and we will continue to take action on these aims.For instance, last year we have identified increasing participation rate of women to labour force in G20 as a concrete collective goal. We have committed to decrease the gap between men and women in terms of labour force participation by 25% until 2025. According to the estimates of the international organizations, more than 100 million women will become participated into labour market if this goal is achieved.

While carrying out these works, we attach great importance to the coordination with other tracks as well. In determining macroeconomic policies, correlation must be well reviewed.


In this context, we intend to hold a joint meeting of G20 Ministers of Finances and Ministers of Labour in September this year. We will discuss steps that should be taken for common issues relating both sides such as strengthening links between growth and employment, wages.

Furthermore, we have decided to establish a working sub-group in the framework of G20 Employment Working Group in order to deeply discuss the decreasing share of wages in the national income and to provide recommendations.

I consider that conclusions and recommendations to be adopted under this working group will guide Ministers of Labour and Ministers of Finance as well.

Dear Mr Chairman,
Distinguished Delegates

In this part of my speech, I would like to briefly mention the developments in Turkey.
Turkish economy, annual growth rate of which increased to 9% just before the crisis, continues to develop in a sustainable manner thanks to political sustainability, structural reforms and the decisive steps taken during the last 10 years. Although affected by recession of emerging markets and experienced decreasing growth rates, Turkish economy has maintained its continuous growth for the last 20 quarters. We achieved to maintain sustainable and concrete growth trend despite the crisis, thanks to the employment friendly and employment oriented growth understanding.

Therefore,
- We increased our national income to 822 billion dollars which was 220 billion dollars in 2002.
- We increased National income per capita to 11000 dollars which was 3000 dollars.
- Foreign trade volume was 88 billion dollars and now exceeded 400 billion dollars.
- We have achieved to eradicate population living with an income below 2.15 dollars per day.
- The rate of our population with a daily income below 4.3 dollars which was 30%, decreased to 2.06 %.
- Compared to 2002 figures, we increased minimum wage by nominally 415%. According to ILO, Turkey is one of the member states which have best practices in terms of minimum wage mechanism and which have made highest increase in average wages.
- According to WB report middle class has grown two fold in the last ten years
- Among OECD countries, Turkey is the fastest in terms of improving income distribution
- Turkey has the highest increase in terms of the amount of assistance and support to the other countries. In 2013, total official development assistance amounted up to 3.3 million dollars.

Dear Mr Chairman,
Distinguished Delegates,

Our successful economic performance was positively reflected on working life and employment and thus we achieved substantial increase in employment even in crisis conditions. Employment in Turkey was increased more than 5.3 million since 2009. Just in the previous year, we provided additional employment for 1.4 million people. We allocate in average 1 billion dollar annually for the active labour market programmes like vocational education, on-the-job training and entrepreneurship. We provided premium reductions for employers for the employment of disadvantaged groups, including women and young people in order to increase their employment.
With Universal Health Insurance, we provided the opportunity of free access to quality health services for all Turkish citizens. We have also completely revised the legislation on trade unions and brought it in compliance with the current industrial relations. The obstacles before the right to organize were removed and right to collective agreement was extended in a way to include public employees.


Occupational Health and Safety Act which was prepared as a separate legislation in accordance with ILO norms and EU standards entered into force in 2012.

Dear Mr Chairman,
Distinguished Delegates,

Before ending my words, I would like to underline another important issue.
Nearly half of the population of Syria were forced to leave their homes due to the civil war going on for more than four years.

This situation is described by United Nations as the greatest displacement in the recent history.
Ignorance of Turkey to such a problem experienced in its close borders of course would not accord with humanity nor culture and historical mission of Turkey.

We did not only open our borders to these desperate people but also opened our hearts since the first day of the occurrence of this problem.


The number of Syrians sheltered in Turkey up to now exceeded 1.7 million. As such, Turkey comes in the first place in the world regarding the number of Syrians accommodated. Turkey is the only country having and implementing Temporary Protection legislation at the present time.


Thanks to these laws and regulations, Syrian citizens in our country have the right to benefit from all public services such as residence, education and health. In respect to this, Turkey displays an unprecedented example of solidarity and has spent a total of 5 billion dollars up to now. It is really sad to see the hesitation of international community for stepping up when further international solidarity is needed so urgently.


Another thought-provoking and grave development in this regard is the suspension of food aid to Syrians in Turkey by UN World Food Programme due to lack of resources. Turkey will continue to help Syrian brothers and sisters as always. In this regard, I hereby take this opportunity to call countries and the international organizations for taking necessary actions and helping further for the sake of humanity.

Dear Mr Chairman,
Distinguished Delegates,

In the end, I would like to thank ILO and its distinguished executives for this opportunity to address you. ILO, which is about to celebrate its centenary year, continues to guide us by its conventions and reports. I am of the opinion that, like every living organisms, ILO also needs renewal and adaptation in line with current conditions. I believe this is necessary in order to carry the expertise and experience coming from its deep-rooted history to future. Taking advantage of its unique structure based upon tripartism more productively and effectively by ILO will not only contribute to raising global labour standards but also to the post-2015 development agenda.
With its active contribution to the efforts carried out in G20 level, ILO will have more say in shaping global agenda.


Being inspired by ILO, G20 has not limited its work to governments and provided the inclusion of workers and employers to this process by establishing B20 and L20.

It is in our hands to effectively utilize the synergy coming from the tripartite structure in our works to be carried out in this house, which has brought us together for nearly a century.

I greet you all with my sincere respect and hope for a better world and a better world of work.


Atatürk

Sadık Arslan Ambassador

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