Speech by Mikhail Shmakov, FNPR president and Workers’ delegate, at the 110th session of the ILC, June 8, 2022


Speech by Mikhail Shmakov, the Workers' Delegate,
President of the Federation of Independent
Trade Unions of Russia (FNPR)
at the 110th session of the ILC
June 8, 2022

Dear colleagues!

The Director General's report rightly points out that "the large number of conflicts across the different regions all bring suffering and hardship, and are evidence and reminders of the indissoluble link between peace and social justice."

The events in Ukraine, inspired by the West, have already caused suffering to millions of people. Meanwhile, the world is gradually creeping into the global systemic crisis, whether that is humanitarian, food, energy or financial.
The Employment and Decent Work for Peace and Resilience Recommendation (No. 205) adopted in 2017 referred to in the Report calls upon us to strengthen international cooperation in order to provide predictable, sustainable and adequate humanitarian aid to assist least developed and developing countries hosting a large number of refugees.

Today, a huge amount of conflict victims are received not only by the poorest, but also by many developed countries, including Russia. "Perfect storm" in the global economy and politics has already kicked to the curb 1.7 billion people in different regions of the world.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations reported that compared to last year, food prices have grown by 34%, reaching an unprecedented level. Because of disruptions in the supplies of fertilizers, it forecasts that there would be a reduction in harvest yield by up to 50%. The UN Conference on Trade and Development has noted the historic interlinkage between the rise in food prices and social upheaval.

By the end of this year, we may well be up against a global famine. The main reason for it could be the growth in wheat prices on the world market and difficulties in supplying food products as the result of erroneous economic and financial policy of the Western countries, and their illegal sanctions against Russia.

The lack of food causes most suffering to Africa, mainly south of Sahara. According to FAO, 257 million people are starving there.

Russia is one of the main suppliers of grain with 16% of global wheat exports. Almost 50 states depend on Russian wheat meeting about one third of their needs through supplies from our country.

Recently, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said that the world community would not be able to solve the problem of the food crisis without Russian wheat, as well as without Russian and Belarusian fertilizers, and proposed that these products be returned "full and unrestricted access to world markets." Increasing supplies of Russian fertilizers and agricultural products will help reduce tensions in these markets. Of course, this will require the lifting of sanctions. However, this is prevented by the United States and other NATO countries, which have provoked and are now fuelling this conflict, including to the detriment of their own economic interests, thus also condemning hundreds of millions of people to hunger.

Only by cooperation and constructive negotiations can we get through this multifaceted global crisis. Sanctions and military pressure won't make it possible to feed millions of hungry people in the LDCs, or even the poorest sectors of the population in the so-called "golden billion" countries.

Within the ILO it is stressed that in order to implement measures to react to the crisis, main stress must be placed on employment, decent work and viable enterprises, and these measures should be based on international labour standards.

The essential need for greater coherence and constructive policies was clearly articulated in the Centenary Declaration and provided the logical framework for the 2022 Global Forum for People-Centred Recovery held in February. For our part, we are ready to take the most active part in all constructive undertakings by the ILO to overcome the global crisis in all its dimensions, as well as to address the looming crisis within the ILO itself.