Asian workers missing out on stellar growth: ILO

BUSAN, South Korea, Aug 29, 2006 (AFP) – Asian workers are missing out on the region’s stellar growth, facing longer hours and lower pay than elsewhere and this imbalance has to be addressed, the UN Labor agency said Tuesday. International Labor Organization (ILO) Director General Juan Somavia told a regional meeting here that the gains of such growth should be “more evenly shared” by business and workers for the sake of all.

“We know by experiences that persistent inequality is socially, economically and politically destabilizing,” the ILO chief said in a keynote address.

“The gap between growth and job-creation is producing a deficit in decent work and putting the brakes on efforts to reduce poverty.”

A report submitted earlier to the meeting warned that Asia’s strong economic performance was failing to improve working conditions which were under pressure as fast growth in trade, investment and output failed to match an expanding labor force of some 1.9 billion.

Last year, economies in the Asia and Pacific expanded 6.2 percent but employment in the region grew only 1.4 percent, it said. China, a key growth engine in Asia, grew 59 percent during the 2000-2004 period during which available jobs increased just f