Labor-20 calls for national action plans on jobs, wages

Labor-20 calls for national action plans on jobs, wages

Labor-20 calls for national action plans on jobs, wages

The picture shows an L-20 meeting during the G-20 Summit. AA Photo

G-20 leaders acknowledged that reducing inequality, creating jobs and ensuring inclusion were essential for ensuring stable economies during the G-20 Summit, held in the shadow of terrorism, the flight of refugees from fear and the threat of further economic crises, said the Labor 20 (L-20) in a written statement on Nov. 16. 

For the first time in a leaders’ statement, the G-20 acknowledged rising inequality was a major risk to “social cohesion and our objective to lift growth” and called on “finance, labor and employment ministers to review growth strategies and employment plans to strengthen action against inequality.” 

“They committed to implementing the G-20 policy priorities on labor income share and inequalities that recognize the need to strengthen labor market institutions, the role of minimum wages and collective bargaining. However, this will mean nothing unless there is national commitment to implement the priorities,” warned the L-20. 

With global unemployment still 30 percent above the level before the crisis, the global jobs gap forecast to rise to 80 million by 2018 and the risks of further recession, action is needed in the short-term to raise growth, it added. 

“The G-20 is off target to meet the 2 percent extra growth target made last year in Brisbane,” said Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC) to the OECD General Secretary John Evans. 

“The leaders talked of ‘sound economic policies’ but what is needed is a stimulus to public investment and wages of the bottom 40 per cent of wage earners. The OECD, at the release of the most recent Economic Outlook one week ahead of the G-20 Summit, has called [for] ‘collective action to increase public investment’ in Europe. But this has to be followed up by action by governments. The price of failure to act is the risk of a further recession,” added Evans. 

The L-20 welcomed the statement on refugees, as the world faces the biggest refugee crisis since World War II, and the reference to the climate.

“The crisis of refugees is recognized and there is a call for humanitarian support, responsibility for providing safe haven and the financial support for poorer economies but there are no specific commitments and the central issue of the right to work for refugees is missing,” said International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) General Secretary Sharan Burrow.

“The focus is now in two weeks to negotiate an ambitious and legally binding agreement that keeps the world’s temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius, delivers on the promise of $100 billion in finance for developing countries by 2020 and has a mandatory review mechanism,” said Burrow.

The L-20 Summit in Turkey’s southern Antalya began the groundwork for the labor and social input to the Chinese Presidency of the G-20 in 2016.

“The world needs hope and with control of 85 percent of the global economy and the majority of the world’s population, the G-20 must act with greater coordination and build on these commitments in China,” said Burrow.