The world of labour is celebrating the election victory of Guy Ryder as the tenth Director-General of the International Labour Organisation, the trilateral United Nations agency charged with protecting workers around the world.
The election this Monday by the ILO governing body marks the first time someone from a trade union background has been chosen to lead the organisation. Several rounds of secret-ballot voting reduced the list of candidates from 8, and appointed Ryder on a five-year term.
ICEM General Secretary Manfred Warda congratulated close friend Guy Ryder on behalf of the global union, looking forward to the ILO now building on past successes and collaboration, placing decent jobs and proper trade union rights at the heart of the global agenda, in the spirit of tripartitism.
"Our duty to the poorest and the most vulnerable must be paramount in the journey ahead," stated Ryder.
The 56 titular members of the ILO Governing Body are eligible to vote in the election; half are from governments, and a quarter each from employers and workers’ groups. ICEM affiliates lobbyied their home governments to support Ryder. Ten of the government seats are permanently held by major industrialized countries. The remaining seats are filled on a rotating basis, for three-year terms. The employers and workers elect their own representatives.
The outgoing Director-General Juan Somavia, a Chilean national, will leave the post on 30 September 2012 after 13 years, and Ryder will take up the post in October.