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PSI and United Cities and Local Government (UCLG) have joined forces to improve labour data collection for their constituencies. On 15 October, they jointly called labour statisticians from around the world, gathered in Geneva for the 20th International Conference of Labour Statisticians (ICLS), to take steps towards filling this major gap.
A 2016 study from the OECD and UCLG counted over 500,000 local and regional governments around the world, but ILOSTAT – the world leading employment statistics database - only manages partial local and regional government employment data for 49 countries, representing only a quarter of the world’s labour force.
Most local and regional government professions, moreover, are not separately identified under the International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO), nor does any International Standard Industry Classification (ISIC) category describe all activities carried out by government.
Daria Cibrario, PSI Local and Regional Government Sector Officer addresses the 20th International Conference of Labour Statisticians (ICLS) on behalf of PSI and UCLG:
This quantitative and qualitative data gap stands in the way of defending and promoting labour rights and decent working conditions for local and regional government sector workers.
“There are few reliable statistics about local and regional government workers numbers and professions; most remain invisible to policy analysis. […] These gaps undermine any proper assessment of subnational governments’ ability to deliver quality public services and fulfil their competences. This can jeopardize the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and of the Decent Work Agenda, which are ultimately to be implemented at the local level” the PSI-UCLG joint statement reads.
Both organizations offered the ICLS and the ILO their expertise to support progress and requested that the joint call be recorded into the 20th ICLS official proceedings; assessed and reported at the next ICLS in five years.
A year ago, PSI had highlighted the invisibility of local and regional government workers in an op-ed published in The Guardian by PSI’s General Secretary Rosa Pavanelli on 31 October on the occasion of UN World Cities Day.