The ICEA President’s Speech at 108th Session of the International Labour Conference
Mr. Mohammad Otaredian, the president of the Iranian Confederation of Employers’ Associations (ICEA) in his speech at the 108th Session of the International Labour Conference took place on 10-21 June 2019, Geneva, Switzerland, condemned U.S economic sanctions against Islamic Republic of Iran and strongly call upon the ILO to depoliticize the issues and to devise effective ways of assisting and mitigating the concerns of the Iranian business community in this matter. Here is his speech:
- Mr. Mohammad Otaredian the president of the ICEA
Mr. Chair, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,
We are gathered here today not just to celebrate the ILO Centenary, but also to devise our collective direction on building a solid foundation on “Work for a Brighter Future”.
Study after study shows five trends that radically altering future global orientation, and that we can no longer imagine the future simply by extrapolating from the past.
1) Technological innovation;
2) Global economic integration;
3) Climate change;
4) Demographic shifts; and,
5) Profound societal changes.
While the pace of change is increasing, we’re building on a history and culture of “innovation”, as the most influential trend, to embrace a brighter future, together.
The greater penetration of technology increases the demand for human skills, including creativity, problem solving, communication and collaboration. And, here the skills gap, at all levels and in all sectors, is a major challenge.
International competition and technological advancement are to increase the flexibility that business owners demand from their employees to be equipped with emerging globalized skills.
According to a research recently conducted, jointly, by the ILO and IOE, 78 per cent of executives have indicated that schools and training centers are failing to meet future employers’ skill needs.
Now that the “Global Commission of Future of Work” has developed a definition of Work for a Brighter Future, we - Governments, Employers, Workers, and the Society as a whole - have to share responsivity measures, to set out the behaviors to underpin it.
To this effect, my opinion is as the following:
Employers need to take leadership and responsibility for developing the emerging skills needed for business success, and for creating resilience and the capacity to innovate in the face of intensifying competitive pressures and market volatility.
Policy makers need to foster a flexible and dynamic skills investment environment which enables people and businesses to build their capacity to innovate and compete.
Education and Training Providers need to collaborate closely with employers, to take necessary measures in order to meeting their requirements as to emerging globalized skills, ensuring that the provision is responsive, with a forward-looking approach, in a competitive global market.
Employees need to:
Change mind-set regarding the nature of work, as it becomes less location-specific, more network oriented, and increasingly technology intensive. And,
Take greater personal responsibility for acquiring and continuously updating emerging skills for professional success and career progression, particularly in the face of limited investment from employers and government.
Mr. Chair, ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to continue my remarks on an issue critical to the future of business environment in my country, (with NO intention of opening a political issue.)
Iran’s economy has felt the effects of the “maximum pressure campaign” by wester policy makers (Trump Administration). The sanctions on Iran have caused a fall of country’s revenues, devaluation of national currency, increase of inflation, and a rise in unanswered joblessness. These all resulted in deterioration of people’s overall welfare and lowering their ability to access the necessities of a standard life such as nutritious food, healthcare and medicine.
Furthermore, sanctions have slowed production and industrial growth in the country, considerably limited national business and investment, due to political uncertainty. Enterprises will certainly not be safe from the negative impact of the US sanctions.
Despite the lofty claims of Western policymakers, it is apparent that this wrong policy of sanctions is being felt across the spectrum of Iranian society: harming Iranian people, bringing about further devastating repercussions for the business environment in Iran. (US) banking and financial sanctions in particular have caused foreign investment to drop drastically, due to the fact that the US (Trump) administration does not only decide about which sanctions against which counties, but also obliging companies from other countries to follow these directions. If transnational companies do not accept this, they are threatened by sanctions themselves and may not be able to continue with commercial activities in the U.S., or with American partners.
A closer look at the history and strategic logic of sanctions shows that they cannot be a right policy tool in humanitarian domains. The outcome of sanctions is clear: higher commodity prices, inflation, decreased business activity and a rise in unemployment, and many other side-effects on ordinary people. It is unacceptable to inflict the greatest burden of maximum pressure on those who are the least responsible for the downturn.
In the age of integrated global economy, the role of countries and international institutions to these aspects, with particular attention to issues of cooperation in response and recovery, have been underestimated.
As a technical Agency of the UN system and not the UN Security Council, the ILO need to establish an efficient mechanism which ensures that they are accessible, effective, independent, and most importantly free from political influences.
The year of 2019 is a prime opportunity not only for the ILO elected officials to report on activities and effectiveness of the Organization, but also for its tripartite constituents to express their views, concerns and expectations.
As the delegate of Iranian employers, I felt an urgent need to speak, at this plenary sitting of 108th Session of the ILC (International Labour Conference), about the troubling trend for our businesses, and strongly call upon the ILO to depoliticize the issues and to devise effective ways of assisting and mitigating the concerns of the Iranian business community in this matter.