'Don't forget workers pushed to margins' by pandemic, Pope Francis says at world labor summit

Pope Francis has called for dignified working conditions and support for workers on the margins of the labor market still affected by COVID-19 pandemic losses when he spoke at the International Labor Organization summit.

"In 2020, we saw an unprecedented loss of employment all over the world. In our haste to return to greater economic activity, at the end of the COVID-19 threat," said the Pope.

"Let us avoid excessive fixations on benefit, isolation and nationalism, blind consumerism, and denial of the clear evidence of discrimination against our 'dispensable' brothers and sisters in our society."

Francis sent his message via video to the annual World of Work Summit of the ILO when he spoke on June 17.

"On the contrary, let us look for solutions that will help us build a new future of work," said the world's Roman Catholic leader.

It should be "based on decent and dignified working conditions, originating in collective negotiation, and promoting the common good, a phrase that will make work an essential component of our care for society and Creation. In this sense, work is truly and essentially human."

The pontiff was one of the world leaders to speak on the first day of the ILO's virtual summit.

U.S. President Joe Biden, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, and Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, the president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, also addressed the summit on the same day, Catholic News Agency reported.

From June 7 to 19, governments', workers' and employers' representatives from 187 ILO member states, have gathered to discuss world of work, including a human-centerd recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pope Francis delivered his message in Spanish and warned summit participants against having an "elitist dynamic" that discards others and sacrifices "those who have been left behind, on the so-called 'altar of progress,'" CNA reported.

The Pope said asked that the world avoid any discrimination, including "consumerism" or "nationalism."

"We must look for solutions that will help us build a new future of work based on decent and dignified working conditions," always "promoting the common good."

Francis' speech marked 109 years since the founding of the ILO.

"Faced with the Agenda of the International Labor Organization, we must continue as we did in 1931, when Pope Pius XI, after the Wall Street crisis and in the midst of the 'Great Depression,' denounced the asymmetry between workers and entrepreneurs as a flagrant injustice that gave carte blanche and means to capital," the Pope said.

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