Solis Praises New ILO Director-General

Guy Ryder will start his five-year term in October. The bigger news at ILO’s 101st International Labour Conference is that Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi will deliver a speech during the June 14 plenary session.

U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis welcomed the election of Guy Ryder as the tenth director-general of the International Labor Organization, saying he "has been a great advocate of the world's working people, both as a trade union leader and in his work at the ILO" and "will be a great asset in leading this organization in efforts to advance good jobs throughout the world."

Ryder, ILO's executive director for International Labor Standards and Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, received 30 of the 56 votes from members of ILO's Governing Body and will start his five-year term in October. However, the big news at ILO's 101th International Labour Conference is that Myanmar's (Burma's) Aung San Suu Kyi, a democracy advocate and Nobel Peace Prize winner, finally allowed by the government to travel abroad, will deliver a speech during the June 14 plenary session.

More than 4,000 delegates from ILO's 185 member states are expected to attend the conference in Geneva, Switzerland, which began May 30 and will end June 15. Somavia told delegates May 30 that what he termed "extreme policies" to address the economic crisis in the Eurozone could spawn a firestorm. "Giving confidence exclusively to financial operators while losing the trust of people not only deepens the vicious downward economic spiral but also opens the way to extreme solutions," he said. "The austerity-only course to fiscal consolidation is leading to economic stagnation, job loss, reduced protection, and huge human costs, undermining those social values which Europe pioneered."

"I am really excited about this chance," Ryder said after his election. "This is a tremendous opportunity, in the middle of this global crisis, to make a difference to the lives of millions of people, including those who've never heard of the ILO, to change their lives for the better. I thank the Governing Body for their confidence. The significance of what happened here today will be judged by what we do, and that is to put the people and the world of work at the heart of everything we do."

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