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Cuba H.E. Mr Salvador Antonio VALDÉS MESA, First Vice-President

Speaker [00:00:06] Thank you Madam President.

Speaker [00:00:12] Director general of the International Labour Organization Mr. Guy Ryder. The international labor organization celebrates its centenary with a great body of work in favor of social justice the promotion of decent work and the protection of workers rights. Great progress has been made. Since the inception of the ILO in 1919 in the wake of the First World War.

Speaker [00:00:47] The results achieved by the international community in terms of recognition and protection of trade union freedoms decent work. Paid leave. Occupational Safety and Health and equality and non-discrimination at work. Just to mention a few. Bear the ILO's footprint. However this organization still has a lot to do. It should continue its effort to efforts to solve long standing problems within the working context.

Speaker [00:01:29] But it also faces new difficulties due to technological advances. The sharp increase of which poses many challenges as appropriately stated in the report of the Global Commission on the future of work. In light of this unfinished task. And the new challenges to achieving an ever more decent and sustainable world of work. It is imperative that all of us strengthen our commitment to the ILO and its mandate. Cuba feels genuinely proud of and satisfied with being one of the founding countries of this organization and Cuba shall approach the new century of its existence willing to continue strengthening the bonds of cooperation with the ILO and committed as has been permanently shown by my country to protecting workers rights and creating a fairer world.

Speaker [00:02:33] Mr. President.

Speaker [00:02:37] The ILO is turning 100 years old in a complex context.

Speaker [00:02:43] We observe with concern how ideas and practices which discard multilateralism as a way to solve global problems. Are spreading and how they dangerously fostered confrontation. Aggressive rhetoric and impositions. There is an increase in the disrespect of international law and violation of the United Nations Charter interventionism and interference in the internal affairs of states. Inequality and poverty are growing due to an unfair international order with irresponsible and unsustainable patterns of production and consumption. Plus financial institutions lacking transparency and which are by no means democratic. In 2018 the top 26 billionaires whereas wealthy as the poorest three point eight billion people of the world. The current international order turns social justice decent work and labor rights into a camera for millions of human beings around the world including the most humble sectors of developed countries. Climate change effects are increasing. Some of them are already reversible and threaten the planet's survival and the health and quality of life of present and future generations. In the world of work.

Speaker [00:04:28] Climate change will cause the loss of millions of jobs. However. The main superpower the United States is evading its historical responsibilities by withdrawing from the Paris Agreement. Supremacist ideas hate speech xenophobia discrimination and intolerance in particular against minorities and migrants proliferate mainly in the wealthier societies which specifically affects employment minorities and migrants face almost all the time. The worst working conditions with few or no guarantees very low salaries and high levels of exploitation. Politicization selectivity and. Double standards against developing countries are increasing. Industrialized nation in spite of their immense wealth. Faced big challenges in their own territories in terms of protecting workers rights and trade union freedoms and intend to set themselves up as global paradigms and manipulate the noble goals of this organization. To condemn countries of the South which do not serve their interests. Unfortunately the ILO has not been exempted from the punitive approaches and selective practices against developing countries. It is imperative to continue working on the improvement and transparency of control bodies and the working methods of this organization. Aiming at the better fulfillment of their mandate and leaving no room for manipulation with political purposes. President the imposition of unilateral coercive measures which are contrary to international law and the charter of the United Nations. Is a mechanism increasingly being used in certain states. These measures have a very negative impact on the life of populations upon which they are imposed. The Cuban people have endured for almost 60 years a criminal economic commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States government against our country. The blockade constitutes the main obstacle to our development and a massive blatant and systematic violation of human rights of a whole people. It hinders our having better conditions for work for workers mainly in terms of salary. And this forces the Cuban state and government to make considerable efforts under difficult conditions to ensure Occupational Safety and Health. Or to offer our whole society greater and better social welfare and security. Such a reality. Beyond reaching an end is becoming worse for Cuba since the US government recently decided to step up the blockade by fully applying the Helms Burton Act which constitutes a legal aberration and lacks any validity. And also by announcing other pressure and economic harassment measures which also contradict international law and freedom of trade. By doing this they intend to make the blockade against Cuba international stifle our economy. And drive business people away so that they don't invest in Cuba. Which has a very negative impact on the Cuban economy.

Speaker [00:09:00] And foreign investment.

Speaker [00:09:04] This new colonial law is intended to deprive the Cuban people of their resources their properties and their hundreds of thousands of jobs. In order to force the Cuban nation to make political concessions. Nevertheless they won't succeed in making our people surrender or break our will to build our own future. Such a policy of open hostility is rejected by the international community. Which every year at the United Nations General Assembly has clearly called for the end of the economic commercial and financial blockade of the United States against Cuba. President the commission commitment of Cuba to the ILO and to workers rights has not changed as evidence of this. Our country is a state party to the eight fundamental conventions of this organization. The aim of building an increasingly sovereign independent socialist democratic prosperous and sustainable nation. Upon which basis we have continued improving the Cuban economic and social model. Includes consolidating the promotion and protection of workers rights and trade union freedoms. An instance of this is in the new constitution of our republic. Ratified by a people's referendum last 24th of February with eighty six point eighty five percent favorable votes from all voters. After a wide participative and democratic process of consultation to debate the draft constitution at workplaces educational institute institutions and communities. The new Magna Carta of the republic. Amongst other advances within the economic and social context strengthened even further the recognition and legal protection of rights for all workers including the non-state sector of our economy. It also recognizes the right to work and to have a decent job. It enshrines the concept that all persons without any discrimination should earn equal pay for equal work. And it prohibits child and teenage labor. Furthermore it acknowledges and protects the rights of workers to rest to an eight hour workday a weekly rest and annual paid leave as well as the right to Social Security. When people are unable to work because of their age maternity paternity disability or sickness. At the same time it establishes the state's responsibility to ensure the right to Occupational Safety and Health and to organizing institutions and services that support working families. Similarly the Labour Labour Code adopted in 2013 ratified the protection of trade union freedoms. Among them the freedom of voluntary association and the creation of trade unions. In Cuba trade union work is indispensable for the realization of workers rights and for achieving the economic and social objectives we have set for ourselves as a nation. Cuban trade unions under the Cuban Workers Confederation are autonomous. Their members adopt their own statutes and regulations and discuss and reach agreements democratically and elect or revoke their leaders. They work without any interference from the authorities. And their leaders have the necessary guarantees so that they can lead. Over 90 percent of Cuban workers are members of trade unions. They are beneficiaries of the social participative and democratic dialogue. Collective bargaining is a reality in Cuba. President. We have continued implementing in our country policies which favor full employment encourage youth employment protect women and working families and strengthen Social Security and welfare. We have continued promoting access. Of persons with disabilities to work without exclusion or discrimination. Based on their own choice their level of education and the economy's requirements. We have shown outstanding results as to the access of women at work. Women who constitute the majority of the labor force in different sectors have equal rights with men including at the workplace. They earn equal pay for equal work. And maternity of working women is protected under specific rules and policies. We have continued making progress in terms of the right to equality which in the work context is manifested in greater guarantees of non-discrimination. For reasons which are harmful to human dignity. We will continue making progress on all of these permanent goals without pause or regression. Our people who have made great the greatest sacrifices and faced the greatest dangers to preserve their sovereignty deserve that their institutions continue working to keep on enhancing well-being and social justice. On the one hundredth anniversary of the ILO. We read we ratify the validity and relevance of its mandate. We are aware that as Fidel Castro the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution said and I quote. Work that creates work that is not the result of exploitation work that brings benefits to workers and to the people is the most honorable role that a man can play. Thank you very much.