Austerity measures that contravene Conventions by reducing social protection and increasing poverty
In its general report of 2009, the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CEACR) observed that the global financial crisis was posing a real threat to the financial viability and sustainable development of social security systems and undermining the application of ILO social security standards. The CEACR reminded governments that, under ILO Conventions on social security, governments must accept their general responsibility for the proper administration of national social security institutions and the due provision of benefits. Moreover, they are to take all measures required to fulfill this responsibility. Furthermore, the Committee noted that social security and the overall economy are inseparable and emphasized that bringing the economy out of the crisis requires enhanced measures of social protection, based on ILO conventions and drawn up by governments and social partners. Thus, social security is to be viewed as part of the solution to this global financial crisis.
CEACR pointed out that social security is a human right and falls under the responsibility of the Government. It reminded governments that however important the immediate financial pressures are, they should not take “precedence over the need to preserve the stability and effectiveness of social security systems, and that any reduction in their expenditure should be carried out within the framework of a coherent policy aimed at achieving viable long-term solutions ensuring the levels of protection guaranteed by the ILO standards” [Para129]. In addition, during periods of crisis no member state can discharge itself of the general responsibility for securing social security.