HLPF 2023: Trade unions call on the EU to increase the support to social dialogue and to the labour dimension of the SDGs

The ITUC delegate at the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF), Diego López González, participated in the HLPF side-event that the European Union (EU) organised to complement the formal presentation of its voluntary report on the progress it has made in terms of implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Entitled “Delivering the SDGs: revitalised partnerships with the EU”, the event offered an opportunity for EU representatives to showcase the mainstreaming of the SDGs in EU policymaking both within the bloc and outside of it through dedicated initiatives, such as the Global Gateway strategy, as well as to allow trade unions and civil society representatives to exchange with the EU on how to boost this implementation further.

Speaking on behalf of the ITUC, Diego López, ITUC Development Cooperation Policy Coordinator, outlined the Confederation’s views on how Goal 8 can leverage the progress of all the other SDGs, and presented the workers’ priorities to contribute further to accelerating action on the SDGs.

López commended the initiatives that the EU is taking to promote decent working conditions and eliminate all forms of labour exploitation, including child labour. He also underlined the importance of the EU supporting both the principle of equal pay for work of equal value and the sustained involvement of social partners in development processes.

Concerning the contents of the EU’s voluntary review, López expressed trade unions’ concerns regarding the limited prism in which progress has been mainly measured - economic growth and employment rate. He underlined that this way of measuring was missing out on qualitative elements to which trade unions can contribute, pointed out in the ITUC and ETUC’s report: “Halfway to 2030: A Trade Union Take on the EU and the SDGs”.

López highlighted how trade unions’ promotion of the Decent Work Agenda and key workers’ demands reflected in their call for a New Social Contract generate important spillovers from Goal 8 to many of the other SDGs. He also encouraged the EU to invest more in the promotion of social dialogue outside the EU to ensure that the objectives of job creation reflected in the Global Gateway initiative will deliver decent jobs, with rights and minimum living wages, along with just transition towards more sustainable societies, supported by universal social protection.

Looking forward, López called on the European Union to take an active role at the upcoming SDG Summit and show strong support for social dialogue and the labour dimension of the SDGs, and for the synergies between the Decent Work Agenda and the fight against climate change through a just transition.

Concluding, López encouraged the European Union to improve the incorporation of social partners into EU processes on the SDGs and in the implementation of the Global Gateway.