ITUC’s response to the World Bank’s Social Protection and Employment Compass

“Charting the Path to Universal Social Protection: Resilience, Equity and Opportunity for All”, also known as the Social Protection and Jobs Compass (SPJ), published on September 29, sets out the Bank’s position on how social protection systems should be reformed and expanded and outlines the priorities for the Bank’s work in this area in the coming years.

Ensuring universal social protection is a long-standing priority for the ITUC and the international trade union movement as a whole. The ITUC shares the report’s objectives to foster greater equity, resilience and opportunity, and agrees with the Bank that the lack of social protection for the majority of workers in the informal economy globally is a challenge that must be addressed. urgently.

The ITUC also welcomes the fact that the Compass highlights the need to improve the adequacy of benefits to ensure adequate livelihoods for workers, as well as the availability and quality of key services, including childcare services, the elderly and people with disabilities.

The ITUC appreciates the emphasis in the Compass on the need to strengthen financing for social protection, at national and international levels, and recognizes that the World Bank is one of the largest providers of official development assistance (ODA ) for social protection; support that has grown considerably in recent years.

International standards

The ITUC nevertheless has a number of serious reservations about some of the policy messages of the Compass, as well as the rigor of the analysis underlying some of the proposals.

In particular, we regret that the vision of “universal social protection” proposed by the Bank seems to deviate from international labor standards and internationally agreed interpretations of the concept.

The Bank’s vision of universal social protection appears to prioritize the extension of targeted, non-contributory social assistance at the expense of social security, particularly pensions.

The ITUC is furthermore deeply concerned about the role that private funding seems to play in Compass, as well as the emphasis on voluntary and private schemes, which seem to be seen as an “alternative”, rather than a complement, publicly organized social schemes. Security.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, stressed: “Social protection is an internationally recognized human right, and governments have the primary responsibility to guarantee this right. They cannot outsource their responsibilities to the private sector. The Bank should support global efforts for universal social protection, urgently needed by the four billion people without any form of support.

Despite the World Bank’s significant contribution to financing social protection in developing countries, the Compass otherwise gives no indication of how the Bank could contribute to the financing and implementation of the Global Accelerator. United Nations Employment and Social Protection for Just Transitions.

The Compass also makes no mention of the potential of a Global Social Protection Fund to mobilize and coordinate international funding for social protection, despite ongoing international discussions on the creation of the fund and broad public support from trade unions, civil society organizations and a number of governments.

A more detailed assessment of the CSI on the Compass is published online here.

Joel C. Hicks