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Opening statement

Opening statement in the Committee for Fundamental Principles and Rigths at work, delivered by Government representative of Norway, Ms. Marthe Eikeskog

Thank you Chair. I am speaking on behalf of the Government of Norway.

The Government of Norway would like to thank the office for the report. We welcome this recurrent discussion, and look forward to reflect on the progress made since 2012 and to address remaining challenges. We reiterate and stress our strong commitment to the fundamental principles and rights at work.

As the report points out, the discussion takes place in a challenging context, with high levels of unemployment and growing inequalities. There is a need for member states to recommit to the fundamental principles and rights at work. Although we have not yet reached the goal of universal ratification, the fundamental Conventions have an overall high rate of ratifications. However, effective implementation is still a big challenge. To tackle the  implementation gap, we essentially need enhanced promotion of freedom of association and collective bargaining.

Conventions 87 and 98 are the least ratified core conventions. It is of great concern to us that approximately half of the world’s population live in countries that have not yet ratified one or both of these conventions. Further, that there has been a decline in levels of trade union membership and collective bargaining coverage. Freedom of association and collective bargaining are enabling rights. If they are not given effect, other fundamental principles and rights become illusory.

To achieve results in all categories of fundamental principles and rights at work, a coherent and integrated approach is necessary, both at the international and national level. We as member states also have a responsibility to act in a consistent manner in various international fora.

It is also crucial to mainstream  all four categories of fundamental principles and rights at work in the actions taken across the Office. This includes the work on global supply chains, as discussed at the Conference last year, and on non-standard forms of employment.  In addition, this committee should address mainstreaming of all four categories in the work at country level, particularly in the Decent Work Country Programmes. The development and implementation of DWCPs should include social dialogue and attention to Conventions 87 and 98.

Norway looks forward to the discussion – we are hopeful that it will fulfil its purpose in accordance with the follow-up to the 2008-Declaration.

Thank you for your attention.