The Future of Work and Challenges of a Digitalised Economy Top G20 Labour Ministers’ Agenda: G20 Leaders Must Drive Action

The L20 (Labour 20) has welcomed commitments from the G20 Labour Ministers, meeting in Mendoza, Argentina, but call for urgent action by governments. The package of measures, if collectively implemented, would help anticipate a number of future employment challenges – social protection, skills, inclusion of women, youth and people with disability as well as tackling informality in the global economy.

ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said: “Ten years on since the first meeting of G20 leaders in Washington, D.C., at the onset of the global financial crisis we still have a world where corporate and financial concentration, unemployment, precarious jobs and a slump in wages with persistently high inequality continue to constrain the engines of inclusive growth.

“The original mandate for the G20 was to bring our economies back on a robust and inclusive growth path, through coordination of economic policies while addressing the future global challenges through international cooperation. There are a good set of commitments from the G20 Labour Ministers in Mendoza about preparing for the challenges of the future, but they must do a better job at the primary mandate of the G20 of delivering robust and inclusive growth and take coordinated actions, including with their finance counterparts in the G20 Finance Ministers, to help lift wages. ”

Pierre Habbard, General Secretary of the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD (TUAC), welcomed the Ministers’ recognition on the challenges of the future of work but said implementation of past commitments must be the focus of the G20: “In 2015, G20 Labour Ministers committed to effectively address the fall of labour income shares and the rise of inequalities which are manifested across G20 economies. That mandate has not been implemented and is even more critical today for achieving inclusive growth.”

G20 Labour Ministers made commitments on:

Income Inequalities:
Addressing income inequalities is central to achieving better jobs, more inclusive societies, and stronger economic growth. We welcome the meeting of the [G20 Employment] Subgroup of Labour Income Share and Inequalities, which considered inequality as a crosscutting issue. (Paragraph 5)

Social Protection:
We reaffirm our commitment to actively promote access to adequate social protection for workers in all forms of employment and work arrangements, and to foster non- discrimination and fair treatment regardless of the individual employment status. (Paragraph 19)

Future of Work:
Our policy responses will be informed by the policy principles we have identified for: developing skills for an inclusive Future of Work; promoting labour formalization and decent work; developing comprehensive social protection; increasing labour market integration for people with disabilities; eradicating child labour, forced labour, human trafficking and modern slavery in the world of work. (Paragraph 27)

Decent Work in the Digital Economy:
We are committed to promoting high quality jobs and decent work in the digital labour market. (Paragraph 14)

Some forms of work may pose a number of challenges for job and life quality, skills training, social protection and income distribution, freedom of association and collective bargaining. (Paragraph 13)

Fundamental Rights at Work in the Digital Economy:
We should seek to ensure that new forms of employment are in the formal economy. (Paragraph 15)
Clarifying, where appropriate, the classification of workers ́ employment status and associated employment rights. Raising awareness among stakeholders of the rights, obligations and responsibilities regarding different forms of work. Promoting fair treatment in working conditions, access to social protection and training opportunities for all workers, regardless of the type of employment relationship. Expanding social dialogue to reach all workers including through innovative means, and promoting collective bargaining. (Annex 1)

Clean up Global Supply Chains:
We will continue to implement our commitments on decent work in global supply chains (Bad Neuenahr, 2017), and we endorse the “G20 Strategy to eradicate child labour, forced labour, human trafficking and modern slavery in the world of work”. (Paragraph 17)

Modern Slavery
Encourage the ratification and effective implementation of relevant international instruments, such as the 2014 ILO Protocol to Convention 29, the 1990 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and its optional protocols, the 1973 ILO Minimum Age Convention and the 1999 Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention. (Annex 2)

G20 leaders meeting at the Buenos Aires summit in November must endorse the commitments of Labour Ministers and take co-ordinated action to put global growth with decent jobs and wages on the agenda.