The Union Syndicale Suisse’s position on Decent Work and Swiss development cooperation

The Union Syndicale Suisse calls for

- The ILO’s policies on employment, « decent work » and « national social protection floors » to be given a more prominent place in Swiss development cooperation policy.

When Switzerland engages in development cooperation with Tunisia, for example, it should find out what role the social partners play in it, with a view to possible future cooperation projects, such as vocational training, and ensure that when it commits to setting up two water treatment plants, ILO standards and normal salary levels are respected on the work site. This should happen as a matter of course, but so far this is not the case.

- The components of the Decent Work Agenda to be taken into account across the board, both in projects aimed directly at employment creation and in all other projects.

In collaboration with the ILO, Switzerland needs to implement specific cooperation projects with an emphasis on achieving the decent work goals. We must ensure in every case that our cooperation partners consider the policy targets of the “Decent Work Agenda” as applicable across the board. At present this is very far from being the case. To change that, there must of course first be the political will at the top of the hierarchy. Then there will probably need to be a directive that sets out the rules of conduct for the project leaders and the local cooperation partners.

- Switzerland to seize the opportunity presented by the debate that has started, on the post-2015 agenda, to ensure that productive employment and decent work become a real priority.

The report of the round table on the post-2015 goals at the World Economic Forum held in Davos in 2013 in the presence of the UN Secretary General, for example, cites goals such as access to water, training, health services and governance (combating corruption or the improved performance of state structures). It also raises the possibility of broadening the basis of the millennium goals, integrating the private sector more, or the challenges of climate change.
Yet there is not a single word about employment policy or the promotion of decent work!
There is good reason therefore for the above-mentioned policy targets to be included at the top of the mandate of the Swiss representatives negotiating the post-2015 agenda.