Few would deny the revolution that the digital economy has brought to our lives. People and companies are using the power of the internet, and the networks and leverage that it brings, to transform the way they shop, sell, socialize, seek medical advice – and work. The benefits of the new economy are multiple, but the impact on social security as we know it is significant, and will require innovative responses.
Nelson Mandela (Madiba) left us in December 2013. But his legacy lives on. And we continue to celebrate International Mandela Day on 18 July, his birthday. My first contact with that giant of a man, Nelson Mandela, was at the ILO in Geneva in 1990. I had just joined the organization a few months earlier and Mandela had only recently attained freedom after 27 years of captivity. Can you imagine what I felt when I heard that he was to be a special guest at the International Labour Conference that year?
In recent years, the ILO has been swamped with demands from governments and social partners on minimum wage fixing. Since 2010, we have worked with more than 30 countries on this issue, from large countries like China, Mexico and South Africa, to smaller ones such as Bulgaria, Cape Verde and Cambodia.
The trend shows no signs of slowing.
Germany adopted a national minimum wage in 2015 and South Africa is currently considering replacing its current system of minimum wages in some sectors with a more encompassing national minimum wage.