The international trade union movement said Labour Ministers have set the standard for Finance Ministers and Leaders to follow as they prioritized employment and endorsed the social protection floor and rights for workers after their two day meeting in Paris, 26-27 September. ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said that Labour Ministers have shown themselves to be champions of workers and the real economy where workers and employers are the actors, not bankers and rating agencies. Now the G20 Leaders and Finance Ministers must follow suit. The results of the meeting can be found in a Communiqué and the Conclusions endorsed by the Ministers.
“G20 Labour ministers have shown their Leaders the way to go. Now the Leaders must send the right instructions to their Finance Ministers, so that spending for jobs is increased while the G20 finally bring the financial markets under control as they promised to do when the crisis first broke three years ago. Complacency by G20 governments has meant no regulation of the financial sector and no action to meet the jobs crisis. We know that only workers will drive the world out of the crisis, not the bankers or the ratings agencies,” said Sharan Burrow.
The union movement also welcomed the creation of a task force on employment by the G20 Labour Ministers, and called for the group to put in place plans to build the green economy, tackle the severe crisis in youth employment, formalise informal economic activity and create sustainable jobs and businesses. OECD-TUAC General Secretary John Evans said Labour Minsters have set in place the basis for serious follow up to their work by establishing a task force on employment to be co-chaired by France and Mexico. “Its work needs to cover all the main challenges to employment at this time, from youth unemployment to the national employment targets that the G20 needs to establish. The union movement will devote maximum priority to working with the task force to help devise responses to the record levels of global unemployment,” said John Evans.
Trade unions further welcomed the Labour Ministers' endorsement of a social protection floor based on the ILO's four-part definition and workers’ rights. “When over 75 % of the world’s workers have inadequate social protection this is an economic as well as a social disaster and no more than now in times of great transitions. Developed countries built their social security systems when they were poor and coming out of the Great Depression of the 30s. These great social contracts became economic foundations as they work as economic stabilisers. When the finance ministers meet in Paris in October, they need to look at coordinated action for investment in jobs and social protection and to recognize the economic role of collective bargaining to reduce income inequality,” said Sharan Burrow.
The G20 Labour Ministers met following a tripartite dialogue with employers and unions. “A strong social dialogue with employers and unions laid the foundation for the G20 Labour Leaders discussion, which allowed workers to be put at the centre of recovery plans. Finance Ministers and Leaders need to take heed, and hear the voices of workers not just the bankers,” said Burrow.