The President of the Eastern Republic of Uruguay, Tabaré Vázquez, has advocated increased social dialogue and collective bargaining as an essential component of the development of countries.
“Without dialogue there are no agreements and without agreements there is neither genuine and sustainable progress, nor development,” President Vázquez told a special plenary session of the 106th International Labour Conference in Geneva, convening representatives of governments and employers’ and workers’ organizations from the 187 member states of the International Labour Organization (ILO).
The Uruguayan President specifically referred to the topic of “collective bargaining and dialogue in the private sector and in the public sector, between governments and trade unions and employers,” which he described as “a key instrument to build a world of work that serves everyone.”
“Therein lies the key to the social contract and democracy, indispensable for progress,” he added.
“The power of dialogue and negotiation does not consist in shouting, threatening, hitting tables or slamming doors, but in recognizing others as fellow beings, listening to them, not fearing that they may be right, and having the capacity to propose, negotiate and agree,” explained the Uruguayan President.
President Vázquez told delegates that “Uruguay has a vast experience in social dialogue” and noted that “the result is genuinely positive”, and has played a role in improvements in real wages, quality of employment, training of workers and entrepreneurs, gender equality, social security coverage, poverty reduction, and economic growth.
In addition, he said that the progress recorded in his country “is an achievement of the entire Uruguayan society as a whole”.
The President considered that trust in a better and shared future is key, saying “without that confidence in a better and shared future, neither the International Labor Organization would be what it is now, nor would we be here.”
During his address to the opening session, President Vázquez also addressed the issue of labour migration, which will be the subject of special attention by a Committee that will meet in the framework of the Conference.
“Let us aim towards a secure, neat and labour migration harmonized with international labour standards, as well as with national policies,” said Vázquez.
The Uruguayan President also reaffirmed the support of his country of the fundamental principles of the ILO, as well as for the initiatives undertaken by the Organization in the framework of its centenary to be celebrated in 2019, one of which is the Initiative on the Future of Work.
“In today’s world, those who try to solve their challenges with answers from the past are condemned to failure, those who stop move backwards, and those who aspire to be saved on their own are hopelessly lost,” he said.
He also stated that “we must not wait for the future, we must build it. And we build it knowing that it will never be immutable or perfect, but that it can always be better and perfectible.”