G20 focus on Jobs, but Leaders distracted in a Summit fraught with political tensions

While the Syria crisis dominated much of the G20 discussion, the leaders’ statement takes positive steps towards recognising the dangers of a social crisis driven by unemployment, inequality and exclusion.

However while the focus from the G20 is on long term solutions, the risk is that short term action will be missing.

The ITUC Global Poll 2013 finds the world in the midst of a social and political crisis to add to economic woes:

- One in two have direct or family experience of unemployment or reduced working hours;
- 87% of people said their income was stagnant or falling behind the cost of living in last two years;
- 80% of people feel that governments have not done enough to tackle unemployment and the majority feel they have no protection for job security;
- The majority of the worlds’ people (55 percent) are frightened their children or grandchildren will be worse off.

Sharan Burrow, General Secretary International Trade Union Confederation said unanimous support for the first international plan to tackle profit shifting by big business and tax evasion will signal a return to collective responsibility if this is not followed up by action at the national level.

“Jobs, investment and growth has focused leaders attention during the Russian Presidency, but unemployment is still rising above 200 million and the disaster of declining growth in the BRICS countries is adding to social exclusion and despair,” said Sharan Burrow.

“The leaders have strengthened engagement in social dialogue with business and labour at the G20 level. There is also now a recognition of the need to increase recovery momentum and reduce inequality through wage bargaining, including national wage setting mechanisms. This has yet to be translated into a change of policy at national level and by the IMF and OECD.” Said John Evans, General Secretary TUAC.

The L20 / B20 joint call for sustainable investment in infrastructure and the accompanying principles for long-term investment were accepted by G20 leaders.

“The challenge will be national commitments to a new investment model that draws a line between speculation and investment and ensure patient capital triumphs over speculation “ said Sharan Burrow.

“Reregulating financial markets remains unfinished business for the G20. The global financial system is no more stable today than it was six years ago,” said John Evans.