Thursday, 15 April 2010

Trade union statement to G20 Labour Ministers

As forecasts warn of a continuing rise in unemployment on top of the additional 34 million people worldwide who have become unemployed due to the economic crisis, trade union leaders from the G20 countries will urge for more action on jobs when they meet with G20 Labour and Employment Ministers on 19 April in Washington DC. The union delegation will present Ministers with a Global Unions statement, Beating the Jobs Crisis, setting out the steps which G20 governments need to take. The Statement calls for measures across six main areas, to:

* Maintain fiscal stimulus and focus on job creation: there must be no exit from fiscal stimulus until adequate growth levels have been attained, the danger of a further slump averted and there is self-sustaining recovery in jobs. The size, duration, coordination and targeting of stimulus packages must maximise creation of decent jobs including ‘green’ jobs;

* Strengthen social protection: existing social protection measures must be increased, including extending the level and period of unemployment benefits and supporting youth through determined government action. Globally, a social protection floor for all needs to be ensured;

* Provide support for the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): G20 governments should agree on an Action Plan to implement the G20 Pittsburgh commitment to achieving the MDGs. Decent work needs to be placed at the heart of development assistance, and in low income countries, strategies for the creation of quality employment based on policies of sustainable industrialisation have to be put in place;

* Support a just transition towards a low carbon economy: proposals need to be developed to ensure that the job creation potential of mitigating climate change is maximised;

* Help build a sustainable labour market model: measures are required to combat labour market, income and gender inequalities, and these need to be at the centre of the post-crisis policy framework; and,

* Re-skill and upgrade the global workforce: the G20 skills strategy must build quality skills and employment, through a new surge in vocational education and training that engages the trade unions and employers, makes lifelong learning a reality for all and focuses, in particular, on prioritising skills for ‘green’ jobs.

The Labour and Employment Ministers conference is being held as follow up action to the Pittsburgh G20 leaders’ meeting in September 2009, and is due to make recommendations to the G20 leaders’ meeting in Toronto in June. “In Pittsburgh G20 leaders said that they would put quality employment at the heart of the recovery but we don’t see this happening yet – the signs are that workers will have to pay for bailing out the bankers through public expenditure cuts, job insecurity and wage reductions. Governments have to urgently refocus their action to create decent jobs. If they don’t, the risk of a social explosion is likely to become a reality,” said ITUC General Secretary Guy Ryder.

The union delegation will also be calling on the G20 to continue focusing on employment issues beyond the Washington meeting, for example through a task force which would include trade union involvement. Through the ITUC Regional Organisation for the Americas, TUCA, the trade union movement is also putting its case to G20 member-countries Brazil, China, India and Russia, whose leaders are meeting in Brasilia on 16 April.

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