Speaking at the first L20 Forum in Melbourne today, Australian Council of Trade Unions Secretary Dave Oliver and General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation Sharan Burrow said a real opportunity exists for Australia’s G20 Presidency to drive global job creation and promote growth in a sustainable way.
“Rising income inequality is the result of old growth models that have relied on declining wages, job cuts and increased insecure employment,” Ms Burrow said.
“We can’t afford to go back to old growth models where the top 1% have taken the lion’s share of growth compared to hardworking families whose wages have stagnated.
“To achieve the new growth target, we must move away from austerity to supporting global demand and structural policies that raise skills of workers and support workers’ rights rather than undermining them.
“You’re not going to shrink yourself to prosperity.”
Mr Oliver said that with economies in transition, workers need to see where the jobs of the future are coming from.
“As growth softens and unemployment remains high, hardworking Australians are looking for a Government with a plan to address job creation and strengthen the economy.
“Instead the Government’s answer is to savagely cut public sector jobs, cut skills funding for trade training centres and get rid of the $10 billion clean energy finance corporation that would have created thousands of new high skilled, innovative local jobs.
“Australia’s G20 Presidency is a real opportunity for the Abbott Government to put its money where its mouth is and create good quality, secure sustainable jobs.”
The L20 is calling on G20 governments to agree on a jobs and growth pact to:
Bring forward investments in public infrastructure that create jobs in the short term but also improve long-term productive potential and support the transition to a low-carbon economy that can generate green and decent jobs
Raise low and middle incomes to both reduce inequality, but also to inject purchasing power into the economy and trigger productive investment. The L20 will submit a quantified assessment of the job-creation impact of such a wage-led stimulus to the G20 Labour Ministers Meeting in September 2014;
Strengthen workers’ rights and social protection systems so as to formalise informal jobs and prevent formal employment to slide into informality. Reduce employment precarity and promote inclusive labour markets by boosting activity rates of vulnerable groups, notably women and minority ethnic communities, including through investment in childcare facilities and the “care economy”;
Introduce global social protection floors to ensure the provision of universal health and elder care and ensure basic public services;
Support youth employment, by introducing youth guarantees, promoting quality vocational training and apprenticeships, as called for by the L20 and B20 and increase investment in quality public education;
The L20 will convene its first Forum in Melbourne today to step up dialogue on ‘Jobs and Growth’ with other official G20 outreach groups including the Business 20 (B20), Civil 20 (C20), Think 20 (T20) and Youth 20 (Y20).
The Australian L20 Steering Committee liaises closely with ITUC and TUAC in planning and convening L20 events and activities http://www.ituc-csi.org/l20 and ensuring appropriate L20 representation at all G20 meetings. This includes the Employment Task Force and Sherpa meetings, Labour and Finance Ministers meetings and G20 Summits.