G20 India: no action, no urgency

photo: Money SHARMA / AFP

The ITUC and TUAC look forward to the Brazilian presidency of the G20 focused on taking action for the most important issues for working people, after a woeful outcome from the latest leaders’ summit in New Delhi, India.

The final G20 Leaders’ Declaration failed to make any substantive reference to workers’ rights and the important role of trade unions in overcoming inequality and ensuring social justice as well as in Just Transition to tackle climate change. While there were some positive references on social protection, gender equality and working conditions for platform workers, it lacked ambition on climate action and contained no concrete actions or timetables.

“The Modi Government tried to sideline the legitimate trade union movement in favour of its Hindu nationalist labour front, and as the chair of the summit it has steered an outcome that ignores the reality that excessive wealth for a small minority means growing inequality for the rest.

“We know that progressive governments brought the right messages to the G20, but the Indian government used its leverage as host to betray working people at home and abroad. We are looking forward to a proper G20 process of dialogue and inclusion with Brazil as host next year,” said Acting ITUC General Secretary Luc Triangle.

New Social Contract

This is in stark contrast to the L20 Summit, where participants from key governments spoke of concrete action for working people in line with the New Social Contract. Government representatives who addressed the L20 meeting included Kelly Olmos, Minister for Labour, Employment and Social Security of Argentina, Luiz Marinho, Brazilian Labour and Employment Minister, Thea Lee, US Deputy Undersecretary for International Labor Affairs, ILO Director General Gilbert Houngbo and Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner responsible for Jobs and Social Rights also addressed the meeting.

Veronica Nilsson, General Secretary of the Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC) to the OECD, added: ‘’The G20 needs to do a lot better if it wishes to remain an international player. It appears to be disconnected from the needs of working people.

“The Delhi summit failed to include any new actions to tackle climate change, poverty and inequality, did not condemn Russian aggression against Ukraine and had nothing to say about tackling the cost-of-living crisis and the need for pay rises.

“The most significant decision was to offer a seat at the table to the African Union. While important, it will be of little use unless the G20 proves capable of taking decisions and action on climate change, jobs and social protection.”

“We have already started working closely with the Brazilian unions and government on next year’s agenda and are looking forward to a much more positive G20 process for working people.

“It’s clear that the administration of President Lula understands the positive social and economic role that trade unions play, and we can repair the harm done by the Modi administration in India.

“However, the G20 must understand that working people are struggling every day and they deserve leaders that take action to help them now and work closely with the trade unions that represent them”, said Luc Triangle.

A detailed trade union review of this year’s G20 declaration will follow soon.