address by minister Dr. Ivan Svetlik

100th Annual Conference of the International Labour Organisation – June 2011
Address by MINISTER SVETLIK, Republic of Slovenia
Mr President,
Distinguished delegates,
This year we celebrate the 100th Session of the International Labour Conference.
Moments such as these are important for both looking back on our past
achievements and looking forward to the challenges ahead. I agree with the Director
General, that “with the ILO values and policies, we are on the right side of history”.
It is many years since our society last faced such serious challenges as it is facing
today. The data in the Report show rising social and economic imbalances and
inequalities in our societies. The trends are a cause for serious concern and require
urgent action. But in taking any action at whatever level or area of decision-making,
we have to be aware of three important facts:
1. The sustainable development of our civilisation is possible only if we put
all three dimensions – social, environmental and economic – on an
equal footing.
2. Social security is a universal need and a basic human right.
3. Social policy is an investment in human capital.
In this context, the capacity of the ILO has to be enhanced. We must further
strengthen international labour standards, build a social protection floor for the
most vulnerable and ensure the effective implementation of adopted standards in
The Global Jobs Pact and Decent Work Agenda have to remain our commitment.
The four strategic objectives of the Agenda can help us deliver a sustained, job-rich
and equitable recovery.
The Government of the Republic of Slovenia is making every effort to tackle the
social impact of the recent economic and financial crisis. The main short-term
measures consist of active labour market policies, short-time work arrangements and
measures to support people’s income. Social transfers – family and social benefits –
have an important impact on decreasing poverty in Slovenia.
However, the increased pressure on social expenditure is difficult to sustain. A key
challenge for labour-market and social policy is to facilitate and encourage
employment growth. The economic crisis and slow recovery have added further
urgency to meeting the structural challenges facing Slovenia and other welfare
As our latest experience with the modernisation of the pension system shows,
structural reforms should be prepared in close cooperation with social partners and
other relevant stakeholders. It is important to reach a broad social consensus about
the inevitability of structural changes, even when these seem unfavourable at first
An ageing population is our reality in Europe, and pension reforms are urgent. Job
creation should go hand in hand with prolonging working lives in order to maintain
retirement-income adequacy without jeopardising financial sustainability.
It is our common responsibility – the responsibility of governments, employers and
trade unions alike – not to compromise the ability of future generations to meet their
own needs. Governments must maintain a primary responsibility for ensuring social
protection for most vulnerable.
To conclude, I share the view of the Director-General that it is “our responsibility to
help to guide this new era towards social justice for a fair globalization”.
Slovenia is only a small piece in this mosaic; however, we strongly agree with the
recommendation of the ILO World Commission on the Social Dimension of
Globalization that “work towards a fairer globalization begins at home”. I can
assure you that our government will strive to strengthen the social partnership and
further support the values and policies laid down by the International Labour
Thank you.