Major commitments made by G7 labour and development ministers

The ITUC has welcomed decisions made by the labour and development ministers of the G7 countries during their meetings in May, which include vitally important commitments on jobs, climate and development aid and a series of positive steps on key issues for the international trade union movement.

Labour ministers highlighted their support for the UN secretary-general’s “Global Accelerator on Jobs and Social Protection for Just Transition” initiative to create 400 million jobs and to extend social protection to low-income countries that are currently not covered by any social protection system.

The ministers backed proposals at the International Labour Organization to make occupational health and safety a fundamental workers’ right, and they pledged to promote decent and high quality work, including in the green and digital economies, which, along with their commitments on continuing education and training for adults, provides a significant step to just transition.

Through a mix of mandatory and voluntary measures, including legislation, progress was also made on:

  • mandated due diligence, with renewed commitment to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights;
  • the ILO Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy; and
  • the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.

In their concluding statement, development ministers reaffirmed the commitment for ODA to be 0.7% of GNI, and they promised to reverse the declining share of ODA going to the least-developed countries.

Specific commitments were made on strengthening the care economy, with inclusion of care workers in social dialogue and collective bargaining. Prominent references to climate and the environment were included in their joint statement, with acknowledgement of the importance of just transition.

On jobs and social protection, the ministers also welcomed the UN secretary-general’s “Global Accelerator” and acknowledged the “need to accelerate progress towards universal, adequate, adaptive, shock responsive and inclusive social protection for all by 2030”. Similar commitments to those of the labour ministers were made on supply chain due diligence.

ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said: “Labour and development ministers have clearly heard the call of the international trade union movement on core elements of the new social contract.

“We welcome their commitments and look forward to now seeing the resources allocated to turn promises into outcomes.

“With the world facing huge challenges, and people in less wealthy countries facing heightened insecurity and in many cases the prospect of food and energy shortages, words will not be enough. G7 countries can and must step up for social and economic justice and sustainability.”