Unions and Business sign a solid agreement on jobs and living standards at G20 Labour and Finance Ministers Meeting

Labour 20 and Business 20 signed an ambitious agreement calling on governments to unleash the full potential of the G20 as an engine for growth. The agreement aims to bring more people into jobs, and improve working conditions.

Sharan Burrow, General Secretary International Trade Union Confederation said if followed up on, it has the potential to be the strongest agreement since the B20 and the L20 began working together as social partners with the G20.

“The agreement is based on the need for employment and the dignity of decent work. If you don’t have workers with income, who buy products, you have nothing.

“It underpins workers’ rights and the ILO declaration on core labour standards which were negotiated by business, labour and governments. It is based on support for social protection, which is essential to society, and underpins demand with which to grow jobs and incomes,” said Sharan Burrow.

New IMF figures show that growth is further slowing down, so that the G20 growth target for 2018 is lagging behind with a 3 per cent gap.

“Seven years after Lehmans collapse, markets remain fragile, growth is anemic and millions of people are without jobs. The fuel of mankind is hope and when there is no hope it is very hard to survive. Employment is hope and we have to keep this hope alive.

“The G20 set a 2% growth target – but to meeting this target will be much harder than envisioned. We had to look at what else we can do to bring investment and growth to a level where jobs are created. In the business world, our most important social partner is labour, we’re all in the same boat,” Ali Koc, Koc Holdings and B20 Turkey Employment Task Force

“Inequality is now seen as a risk to the global economy. The G20 faces a problem of credibility if policies remain unchanged, implementation does not take off and policy coherence is lacking.

“We need target measures that can create jobs, especially for vulnerable groups such as young people and women – through responsible investment and tilt measures to raise purchasing power and wages as we reached a tipping point on income inequality. Business and Labour both share concerns about the future of jobs and will continue dialogue on technological change and youth employment, “ John Evans, General Secretary Trade Union Advisory Council to the OECD.

The agreement, sets out a series of demands to G20 governments and fundamentals for labour and business to work together:

  • implementing macroeconomic policies to lift employment and aggregate demand;
  • Bringing youth back into jobs and pursuing joint work on scaling up quality apprenticeships;
  • Formalising the informal sector of economies;
  • Ensuring occupational health and safety at work;
  • Creating skills and jobs for the future;
  • Increasing investment in infrastructure that will ensure transition to a low carbon economy;
  • Promoting women’s participation and equal pay, including through investment in childcare and the care economy.

“When business and labour strike an agreement, then the governments listen – it gives them the comfort of knowing that their public policies will be put in to practice.

It’s not governments who are responsible for the world of work – it’s us – and if we share a set of values about the way in which we want our sons and daughters to be treated, if we share a set of ambitious about productivity and growth we want to see distributed through social dialogue and collective bargaining, underpinned by minimum wages on which people can live, then we can make a difference,” said Sharan Burrow.


Read the L20 and B20 agreement