G20 Labour Ministers fail to deliver for working people

The Labour 20 (L20) has given a mixed assessment of the G20 Labour Ministers’ Meeting in Indonesia, with big gaps in key demands of the new social contract: jobs with just transition, wages and social protection.

The meeting addressed some key measures, such as labour protection and monitoring the implementation of previously adopted principles on the integration of people with disabilities in the labour market. Yet, this will require close follow-up to make sure G20 members move from words to action.

The ministers commit to protecting workers’ rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining, adjusting minimum wages on a regular basis and protecting workers from the risk of low-paid work.

Drawing lessons from the pandemic, they recognised that this kind of labour protection is key for resilience as well as for the undergoing transformations of decarbonisation and digitalisation in the world of work.

However, in this troubled bounce-back year, workers expected much more from the ministers, including global policy coordination to protect workers in face of the cost-of-living crisis, job creation plans with an emphasis on just transition, wages and social protection as part of the beginning of a new social contract.

The Labour 20, the unions’ vehicle in the G20 process, participated in the meeting and in related meetings contributing to the G20 work, advocating for workers’ rights and interests.

The ministerial meeting ended without a joint declaration, due to disagreements on whether Putin’s war on Ukraine should be condemned or not. A minority of members opposed the introduction of a paragraph condemning Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and a call for an immediate cease-fire and withdrawal of troops, as well as respect for worker’s rights, in line with previous demands.