Guy Ryder has some thirty years of experience in the world of work, most of it at the international level. During that time he has occupied positions of leadership at the global level and been called upon to manage complex processes of change and situations of considerable political sensitivity in all regions of the world.
He has served the ILO in senior positions and occupied posts of key political responsibility in its constituent structures. In these different capacities he has demonstrated real and consistent commitment to the Organization’s values and objectives and been active as a practitioner of tripartism.
He has shown readiness and ability to reach out across individual constituent groups in the interests of consensus in a diverse range of circumstances and debates. With a career spent largely in an international environment, he has developed capacity and enthusiasm for working in a multi-cultural and multi-lingual setting.
He has been called upon to lead international organizations where effective use of limited resources was a high priority, and to take them successfully through complex processes of structural change.
September 2010 to Present: Executive Director, International Labour Office, Geneva
With responsibility for International Labour Standards and Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, Guy Ryder oversees the ILO’s key work in the supervision of the application of ILO Conventions and Recommendations and its activities to promote the 1998 Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and the International Programme for the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC). In addition he has responsibility for managing the running of sessions of the annual International Labour Conference and the Governing Body.
In this context, he has been tasked by the Director-General with leading a number of High Level missions to ILO member States to address a range of standards-related questions. These have included recent missions to Bahrain, Colombia, Fiji, Georgia, Greece, Myanmar, and Swaziland.
He was responsible for the Office’s work to successfully complete the reform of the ILO Governing Body which came into effect in November 2011. Since then he has been involved in initiating the on-going process of reform of the International Labour Conference and of ILO Regional Meetings.
November 2006 - June 2010 : General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), Brussels February 2002 – October 2006: General Secretary of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), Brussels
Appointed General Secretary of the ICFTU in February 2002, Guy Ryder initiated and led the process of global unification of the democratic international trade union movement. At its creation in November 2006 the ITUC became the most representative international organization in the history of the trade union movement. He was elected its first General Secretary at the ITUC’s founding Congress in Vienna.
Directing the ITUC entailed putting in place the structures of and building consensus in an organization with a diverse membership of over 300 affiliates in more than 150 countries worldwide. With a core budget of around $14 million per annum, he was called upon to exercise careful financial management and to launch a strategy for mobilization of voluntary funding through revitalized technical cooperation. The process of transition to the ITUC in conditions of tight resource constraints also involved overseeing two processes of organizational restructuring and retrenchment, which were achieved through established industrial relations processes and while maintaining a sound financial position.
In his work at the head of the ITUC, he led the first international trade union delegations to G-20 Leaders’ Summits in Washington in 2008 and in London and Pittsburgh in 2009 which met with G-20 Heads of Government and Chief Executives of participating international organizations. He also led ICFTU and ITUC delegations in biennial leadership meetings with the IMF and World Bank and served on a number of international bodies including the Advisory Board of the UN Global Compact. He was invited to speak at every World Economic Forum annual meeting from 2002 onwards as well as addressing several meetings of the World Social Forum and other major civil society events.
Among his achievements at the ITUC was the establishment of sustainable development and climate change as key international trade union priorities, culminating in his leading a 400-strong trade union presence at the UN Conference on climate change in Copenhagen in December 2009.
He gave priority to the defence and promotion of trade union rights in a wide range of countries and was facilitator of a cooperation agreement between Israeli and Palestinian trade union centres. He also initiated the engagement of the ITUC with the All China Federation of Trade Unions, and promoted a policy of outreach of the ITUC and its affiliates to partners in civil society, particularly in the fields of the environment and of human rights.
1999 - 2002: Director of the Office of the Director-General, International Labour Office, Geneva 1998 - 1999: Director, Bureau for Workers’ Activities, International Labour Office, Geneva
In his first period of service at the ILO, Guy Ryder served as Director of the Office of the Director-General. During this time the ILO’s decent work agenda was formulated and won wide support from the ILO’s tripartite constituency and in the international system.
1993 - 1998: Director of the Geneva Office of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions 1988 - 1993: Assistant Director of the Geneva Office of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions
During his ten years at the Geneva Office of the ICFTU Guy Ryder was directly involved in all aspects of the work of the ILO. He was elected Secretary of the Workers’ Group of the Governing Body, 1993-1996 and of the International Labour Conference, 1994-1998. In June 1998 he acted as Workers’ Group Secretary in the Conference Committee which drafted the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.
1985 - 1988: Secretary of the Industry Trade Section of the International Federation of Commercial, Clerical, Professional and Technical Employees (FIET), Geneva
1981 - 1985: Assistant, International Department, Trades Union Congress, London
Born in Liverpool (UK) in 1956, Guy Ryder was educated at the Universities of Cambridge and Liverpool.