Busa CEO Tanya Cohen. Picture: SUPPLIED
Busa CEO Tanya Cohen. Picture: SUPPLIED

The International Labour Organisation (ILO), the UN’s labour agency, has appointed President Cyril Ramaphosa to co-chair its Global Commission on the Future of Work.

Ramaphosa will join Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, who has chaired the committee since its inception.

The high-level commission was established in 2017 to undertake critical research into how countries could best respond to changes experienced in the world of work as a result of the fourth industrial revolution, as well as the changing nature of work.

Global experts

Development economist and visiting University of Cape Town professor Carlos Lopes is part of the commission’s 28-member committee, which includes experts from across the globe.

The Presidency said in a statement on Wednesday that Ramaphosa "expressed appreciation at the unanimous confidence shown by the ILO’s governing body and shared his high regard of the important work of this commission".

It added that the work of the committee was aligned to Pretoria’s focus on the creation of decent and sustainable jobs, including efforts to empower young people with skills for transforming workplaces.

Ramaphosa will attend his first meeting at the commission when its members meet next Tuesday in Geneva.

National dialogues

SA was one of the more than 110 countries that participated in dialogues over the past 18 months that set the tone for the commission’s establishment.

The country’s contribution also formed part of the national dialogues report released by the ILO at the beginning of 2018.

The work of the commission has been divided into four "centenary conversations" — marking the 100th-year celebrations since the labour organisation was founded.

These conversations are work and society, decent jobs for all, the organisation of work and production, and the governance of work.

Business Unity SA (Busa) has welcomed Ramaphosa’s appointment, describing it as recognition of the country’s influence and contribution. "We believe this appointment will operate as a sign of confidence in the South African economy," said Busa CEO Tanya Cohen.

Independent report 

The commission is expected to produce an independent report on how to find opportunities that provide decent and sustainable work opportunities for all at the ILO’s International Labour Conference in 2019.