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G20 Summit Buenos Aires: Co-ordinated action for global growth with decent jobs and wages needed to rebuild trust in G20

30 November 2018

G20 leaders are meeting in Buenos Aires for their annual summit ten years after the financial crisis as unions warn people still feel betrayed by their taxes having saved a speculation-based economy that their political leaders then did not reform. Having failed to deliver social justice and decent work for all, the multilateral system that governs globalisation is now at risk.

The Labour 20 Statement to the G20 sets out policy recommendations for leaders to take action to reduce inequality, raise minimum wages and strengthen collective bargaining and to make the digital economy work for all.

The roadmap for the G20 has been set by the G20 Labour Ministers Declaration, but it remains for G20 leaders to implement commitments to:

  •  reduce income inequalities;
  •  promote access to adequate social protection;
  •  ensure fundamental rights at work in the digital economy; and
  •  clean up global supply chains.

Globalisation is no longer assured as the travesty of the current economic model has subjected people to low-wage and insecure jobs and has shattered the trust in politics and democracy. Minimum wages, even when they are in place, often do not cover basic living expenses, and people in work are struggling to get by. 94% of the supply chain workers who make massive profits for multinational corporations are a hidden workforce in low-wage, unsafe and insecure jobs,” said Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation.

The digital economy brings challenges and opportunities which require global cooperation and cross-border social dialogue. Challenges like workers’ data privacy, data ownership, surveillance, platform employment, and competition laws that prevent organising and bargaining for non-standard workers require governments to uphold laws to protect workers. G20 commitments to training, skills and strengthening social dialogue provide the foundation for the just transitions required for the workplace changes from digitalisation.” Pierre Habbard, General Secretary, Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD (TUAC)

The Labour 20 is calling on G20 leaders to commit to:

Clean up global supply chains, delivering on commitments to take labour rights out of competition, bringing an end to forced labour, child labour, precarious work, low wages and hazardous working conditions. G20 Leaders should support the negotiation of the UN Binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights and ensure that multinational enterprises address and provide redress for violations within their supply chains.

Raising minimum wages and strengthening collective bargaining will do much to reverse the fall in the labour income share experienced in most countries, thus addressing inequality and providing the increase in global demand needed to sustain economic recovery.

Make the digital economy work for all. The G20 leaders should be preparing the workforce for the future of work with redeployment strategies, wage and working time readjustments, skills development and social protection. We also call on governments to establish effective governance and regulatory structures so that digital enterprises respect the labour and human rights of platform workers. Action is also urgently needed to connect the billions of people who do not yet have internet access.

Climate Action and Just Transition. G20 governments must revise climate policy and goals to keep global warming below a 1.5°C change, and take action to achieve the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement including promoting and implementing strategies for a Just Transition to a net zero-emissions economy.

“Today’s global risks need global solutions and global policies. The G20 can drive policies to create jobs, respect workers’ rights, tackle climate change and ensure the global economy complies with decent work standards. A joint meeting between Employment and Finance Ministers in 2019 can provide the co-ordination between and within countries needed for growth, jobs and wages. The UN Agenda 2030 must be the guide for G20 policy coordination that should be taken up by the Japanese Presidency in 2019,” said Sharan Burrow.