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Portugal H.E. Mr António COSTA, Prime Minister

Speaker [00:00:03] The.

Speaker [00:00:04] President presidency that in the conference.

Speaker [00:00:08] Madam Vice President of the International Labour Conference. It's quite an honor to be here to speak today. It's his pleasure indeed. To be welcomed in my mother tongue Portuguese as well. Secretary general of the International Labour Organization. Ladies and gentlemen delegates ladies and gentlemen.

Speaker [00:00:28] First of all.

Speaker [00:00:30] I'd like to just welcome the Portuguese social partners in particular here present. We work together often. I thank you for your support. And it's quite a pleasure to be see you here today. I recognize that presence now to all the participants in this very special conference of the international legal organization. I welcome you. This year is a special year It's the hundredth anniversary of the organization now throughout this hundred years. The ILO has had a very strong role exercised at the international level when it comes to the development of legislation the development of social policies to promote job creation to guarantee rights at work in the extension of social protection and the development of the social dialogue and in the promotion of gender equality. It has played a great role it's been recognized by all. And as was reflected when it was awarded in 1969 50 years ago with us the Nobel Peace Prize the ILO was the recipient of that year the fundament and the principles of the ILO Constitution are of profound political importance and they define the ideological context. The tripartite structure bringing together governments workers and employers has no parallel in any other international organization over the course of the last decades and throughout the world the demands brought to the fore by globalization associated with accelerated technological progress have led to profound changes in the structures of production and of organizations. We have very very complex challenges facing the world of work. Thus. The ILO has put out a call and over the last months we've been involved in a debate on the future of work. A number of different visions have been presented. Some announce the destruction and disappearance of millions of jobs. Others argue that new jobs will be created to accompany the destruction of all jobs and will make it thus possible to move forward confidently. But we must be aware of the fact that in any case there's not a one to one correlation between the jobs which will be lost and those that will be created and there is also not a correlation between the workers who will lose their jobs the old workers who lose their jobs won't be necessarily those who find jobs in the future with. What is clear is that the challenge continues to be very important and because work is something that is always going to be at the center of individuals lives. And the future will depend upon the will of man and the choices that we make. And if we are going to make choices we've got to know what we are choosing. We've got to have a clear view of what the situation is and what the options before us are more than ever social dialogue and Tripathi ism.

Speaker [00:03:55] We'll be at the center of the ILO agenda for decent work playing an essential role to achieve economic development and social progress.

Speaker [00:04:07] If we we've got to also find broad national consensus and international consensus to promote labor regulation which is efficient and adapted to each country's sector and firm rather than just resisting this change we should find ways to mould this change to harness these changes to have a collective vision of the future of the work and also work of the future.

Speaker [00:04:34] Now it's true that today economies are facing global challenges which are extremely complex. It's also true that innovation and training will be the main tools that we can use to meet those challenges to take advantage of opportunities to create jobs better jobs as well as stable jobs ones that are more engaging and as has happened in the past. At each major crossroads when there was a shift in the economic paradigm the technological and digital revolution is redesigning labor markets. The nature of work itself the forms of working the workplace the way that working time is organized. There's also been a change of the types of skills that workers need to have and workers need to learn how to innovate more effectively. So with all these challenges their local and national yes but they're also international. And that's why you also have to provide for international governance. In this light. We must salute the reference which is the document working work for a brighter future which came out of the Global Commission on the future of work which was produced for this the hundredth anniversary of the ILO. This report is a disruptive document but a responsible one. At the same time disruptive because it doesn't just identify risks. Trying to find the best both answers for the future. The challenge of the future. It's also a very very ambitious agenda and mentions and covers the responsibilities of tripartite ism. It keeps decent work at the heart and thus keeps people at the heart of its agenda. Now the report makes very clear this is a time to improve the quality of work and to increase the investment in people by promoting education and training and by guaranteeing a universal right to long life long life lifelong learning rather. This is perhaps the biggest change which this tech the ecological transformation is going to require.

Speaker [00:06:56] This is a time to expand the opportunities for choice to close the gender gap to combat poverty and to reduce inequality thus ensuring more inclusive social protection from birth until old age. And as the report also mentions it's very important that we continue to maintain the relationship between the labor market and social protection.

Speaker [00:07:23] It's imperative that we shore up and reinvent the link between rights and duties in labor relations and in social protection. This is also a time to reflect on the need to extend. The control each and every one of us has over the time that we live to strike proper balances ones that are sustainable between work and one's personal life. And between those that have work and those that do not. This is a discussion which is not just for today or for even the coming months or years. This is a long term discussion. It's important to civilization. It is an objective. These discussions of these goals are ones that we must to succeed in addressing. Much is changing in many sectors at present. Technology is permeated and indeed innovating are out to our rest times.

Speaker [00:08:28] Technology is taking our jobs home with us.

Speaker [00:08:36] And with this additional pressures we've got to apply age old wisdom and that is that technology should serve society. It should help people to work better but also and more importantly to live better each and every one of us. On the other hand in what the ILO has suggested in this report. As a reworking of the social contract it is essential that we also renovate the institutions which govern the labor market only with the concerted action of governments and the organizations which represent represent workers and employers will it be possible given all the risks to full employment and decent work with rights with fair salaries and generating greater value for the economy as a whole. This is a global challenge before us and we've got to of course address it individually in each one of our countries and each one of our regions. But again country level and international level. This is why we see that it's very very positive that the European Union has a. Reflected on the importance of the social pillar of the European Union and in the strategic agenda which we'll be discussing during the course of the next five years. There is a suggestion that we move towards solidifying the Gutenberg principles and putting them into the action plan which will guide our transition through these very difficult times. As we look at demographic challenges technological ones too and climate change now before us we should take advantage of this historical moment of the centenary of the International Labour Organization.

Speaker [00:10:29] To apply what is in the report. I've worked for a brighter future to see this as a tool which should motivate us and link us all. I hope that will happen.

Speaker [00:10:40] And when it comes to the declaration I hope that that will be approved on this Friday. Doing just that.

Speaker [00:10:48] Madam Vice President ladies and gentlemen today in Portugal questions involving the labor market are very much in the news at present and part of the public debate. We have solid commitment with the ILO which dates back to more than 40 years during the most difficult years of the economic and financial crisis that struck our country. The ILO says help was decisive. It brought into the debate statistics and studies which improved our understanding of the true state of the Portuguese labour market.

Speaker [00:11:23] For example the idea that Portugal suffered from an excessively rigid labour market and thus in order to increase productivity we needed to put more flexibility into our labour laws. This is one of the notions that we were able to prove not to be accurate using studies coming from the ILO during the crisis. The policies of austerity and the insistence on a model of competitiveness based on labour deregulation and low salaries had a very negative a large negative impact on our economy and unemployment. Unemployment at that point in time reached levels never before seen in Portugal. Reaching seventeen point five percent at its worst. At the same time the country suffered a wave of immigration which had never been seen since the 1960s of the last century with a loss of the most valuable capital we had.

Speaker [00:12:26] The people of Portugal their talents and their skills.

Speaker [00:12:33] And. We saw young people leaving the country. The most well-educated members of our society. And they. Left during this economic crisis which was the worst that we'd seen for four decades.

Speaker [00:12:56] The government in Portugal decided to abandon these policies the expansionist austerity policies were simply incoherent and they were going hand in hand with making the crisis worse. Rather we decided to have a pro growth pro job economy looking at innovation of our economic structures with more value given to work with increased income and better jobs.

Speaker [00:13:24] We took a commitment. To reimagine here our salaries and wages and to raise the minimum wage it has increased 20 percent over the course of the last four years.

Speaker [00:13:37] We also started for these reasons efforts to come back proper security which revisited the policies of job growth and social dialogue. We focused on social consultation and developed a strategy for the decade which had aims to trying to overcome the structural shortcomings of the Portuguese economy. It was a strategy based on sustainable growth and thus it had to recognize the importance of work. It had to see ways that added value could be put into jobs.

Speaker [00:14:10] This required a great deal of effort and rethinking of our structural structures in the country. We had to rethink our education and training and skills acquisition affecting the entire population. We wanted to have a model of competitive development one that could get the Portuguese economy moving again in a sustainable fashion.

Speaker [00:14:33] Creating jobs which thus create wealth and well-being and to reaffirm the position of our country in the world. And that is why we also placed bets on technological innovation and the way that this can be taught in our schools and then weaved into our productive fabric because we all know that in the future work will require more qualifications and more skills not fewer ones more innovation and not less innovation.

Speaker [00:15:03] The results of these choices are today visible. Over the course of the last three years the GDP in Portugal increased 7 percent above the average of the European Union which allowed us to achieve real convergence with the other economies of the European Union something which had not happened since we had joined the euro zone at the start of the century.

Speaker [00:15:30] Unemployment fell five point six percent percent rather since 2015. It's now at six point five percent.

Speaker [00:15:39] The lowest level of the last 16 years. Long term unemployment and youth unemployment have decreased more quickly than total unemployment at the same time job security has improved since more fixed contracts are being signed there. Eighty one percent of new jobs at this point in time.

Speaker [00:16:04] With us have achieved.

Speaker [00:16:06] An increase in the incomes of families and thus reduce their exposure to poverty. I must also stress that these new policies. Were developed based on a strategy of discussion with the social partners. There is no economic growth possible without investment and there is no investment without trust and confidence. So the success of these policies was only possible. Because it was based on mutual trust which was established. And via policies which were flexible on the one hand it increased incomes. It created a better investment environment at the same time. And that's why over the course of these years the growth of our economy. Was largely based upon private investment. Sometimes a foreign direct investment. Who are companies and investors choosing Portugal as a good place to invest or or by increasing national companies investments and thus improving their international competitiveness which has indeed improved in all sectors and led to more exports and increased market shares. I think that it should be clear then. That the competitiveness of our economy is not by a collective austerity but now rather to the contrary it comes by investing in upgrading the economic fabric better training for our workers.

Speaker [00:17:50] Making sure that a Work is dignified and making sure that the essential requirements for sustainability are respected. Training our employers. And helping our companies compete internationally. This is the path that we continue. We intend to continue to follow to incorporate changes into the way that we produce.

Speaker [00:18:14] And also looking at ways to enable our companies to be more competitive to invest in technological infrastructures and in a new management approaches to invest in science and the qualification of our of our people but never putting out of the equation the need to defend the dignity of work.

Speaker [00:18:33] Social Dialogue collective bargaining and respecting the framework of rights and duties for our country in the future we want to ensure that work will always be worked out which is decent work with rights. These principles are fundamental to it innovative and creative economy. They will generate wealth and create jobs but also as fair society one which is. It has more solidarity as more inclusive democracy which work and well-being or the heart and no one is left behind.

Speaker [00:19:06] And this agenda of the future we have enjoyed great help from the ILO as one of the most important actors of world governance bringing and pooling the efforts of its partners at the international regional and national levels to defend the dignity of work and to build upon this important legacy which is now one hundred years old. The future of the world is not as a race to the bottom. No it should be the opposite. We've got to be on an upward spiral. We've got to extend that well. It's got to be broader. We've got to take on board the best social models we've got to be more inclusive. We've got to have more dignity for our work and workers and more shared by all in this future. We will continue to build. That is our intention that in this next hundred years this path we will continue to follow and we will take up the challenges before us. I thank you very much for your attention.