I have noted with interest the Asia Floor Wage campaign which has been initiated by a civil society and trade union movement alliance. I am aware that there are many countries where labour rights are poor or non-existent. Ireland’s commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights is a fundamental feature of our foreign policy. Under Ireland’s new policy for International Development – One World, One Future, we are committed to ensuring that economic development is compatible with human rights, including the right to decent work. Our engagement in this area will be informed by, among other international standards, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
In this regard, Irish Aid currently provides assistance to the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) ’Decent Work Agenda’ through a partnership programme that covers the four year period 2012-2015. The development of international labour standards is one of the most important functions of the ILO. The ILO is the only international body that is tripartite, having representatives of governments, employers and workers. The unique tripartite structure of the ILO gives an equal voice to workers, employers and governments to ensure that the views of the social partners are closely reflected in labour standards and in shaping policies and programmes.
The ILO’s ‘Decent Work’ agenda emphasises the central role of work to people's well-being and in broader social and economic advancement. Irish Aid will continue to support this important agenda through targeted support to the work of the ILO in Irish Aid’s key partner countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and in priority areas agreed by the ILO and Irish Aid. Our partnership with the ILO enjoys the strong support of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) and the Irish Business and Employers’ Confederation.