Joblessness key cause of Egyptian unrest: ILO

3rd February 2011, Comments 0 comments

The dearth of decent jobs for Egypt's booming population counts among the key reasons for massive protests now washing across the Arab nation, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) said Thursday.

"The failure to address this situation effectively, with all of its consequences for poverty and unbalanced development, together with limitations on basic freedoms, has triggered this historic outpouring of popular demands," ILO chief Juan Somavia said in a statement.

Egypt's problems were shared by other countries in the region, "where unemployment, under-employment and informal work have remained among the highest in the world," he said.

Somavia praised a few recent strides, notably the establishment of the Egyptian Independent Trade Union Federation as a result of the protests.

"It has called for jobs, a living minimum wage, social protection, and freedom of association," he said in a statement.

Somavia also urged Egyptian authorities to prevent possible discrimination and reprisals from the current uprising while expressing optimism "that the youth of their country can have a future of dignity and decent work."

The ILO has raised the alarm in recent months over the high level of unemployment -- one of the causes of 2010 riots in Greece and more recent protests in Tunisia that ultimately ousted longtime president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

World unemployment reached record levels last year, affecting 205 million people, according to ILO statistics published last month.

Some 77.7 million youths between the ages of 15 and 24 years -- or 12.6 percent of the population -- were out of work in 2010.

© 2011 AFP

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