Trade unions support the implementation of the UN Global Accelerator on Jobs and Social Protection for Just Transitions

ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow expressed the strong determination of the global labour movement to ensure the successful implementation of the UN Global Accelerator at the High-Level Event on the subject during the 77th UN General Assembly on 23 September 2022.

Introduced by the chair of the meeting as “an important partner of the Accelerator”, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) was invited to present its views on how best to implement this initiative of the UN Secretary-General.

Sitting on the same panel with government representatives from several countries, the World Bank and the International Organisation of Employers, ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow delivered a stark message of hope that underlined the strong determination of the global labour movement to ensure the successful implementation of the Accelerator.

Ms Burrow welcomed the leading role of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in this process, at a time when the global labour market is broken and when more than 60% of the workforce is in the informal economy without any rights.

“We absolutely need this accelerator. And I am delighted that it is now at the level of the UN and the partnerships across the agencies with the ILO in the lead,” she said.

The accelerator is critical to address a world that is facing a convergence of crises - the pandemic, climate instability, and growing inequalities – and that is driven by an economic system that does not benefit working people.

Trade unions have been advocating for a new social contract for several years and recognise their demands in the Global Accelerator’s objectives on job creation, universal social protection and just transitions for all.

In this context, Ms Burrow stressed the importance of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals 1 (poverty), 8 (decent work) and 10 (inequality) because “they are at the heart of the social contract, the genuine social contract, that stabilizes people’s life, builds resilience and just transitions”.

This also means that international labour standards and social dialogue must underpin national plans for jobs, universal social protection, skills and community renewal. “With this and global solidarity, we have a fighting chance to rebuild our world,” said Burrow.

Rebuilding the economy is also essential to recovery. Ms Burrow stressed that there are millions of job creation opportunities just waiting to be created in several sectors, such as care, education, infrastructure, and renewables.

“For every ten jobs in renewables, you get five to ten jobs in manufacturing, and you get 30 to 35 in the broader economy,” underlined Burrow.

Burrow also highlighted the potential for work creation of the climate transition, since “every sector has to transition, including our heavy industries”.

Workers’ pledges to the Global Accelerator

General Secretary Burrow concluded her speech with a series of pledges on behalf of the global labour movement:

  • Ensure an integrated vision of jobs and social protection strategies.
  • Get the centrality of labour rights and decent work.
  • Promote policy coherence across the UN agencies.
  • Work with all partners through social dialogue at the national level.
  • Look seriously at solidarity financing, including by supporting debt relief and elimination, increasing ODA for social protection and supporting the Global Fund for Social Protection, and advocating for pension funds to contribute
  • Support the UN Global Care Alliance

“Let’s do this! If this accelerator gives us a strong basis for a new social contract that will give people hope, it will get us to the Common Agenda Summit with this contract at its heart and actually realise those SDGs. It will build hope, stability and just transitions”, concluded Ms Burrow.