05 February 2020
The 2020 Global Deal Conference held yesterday brought together the OECD Secretary General, the ILO Director General, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and other high-level government officials and stakeholders to exchange ideas and experiences on how the Global Deal Initiative can promote social dialogue mechanism for the benefits to business, workers and society.[i]
The Global Deal is a global multi-stakeholder partnership launched by the Swedish government in 2016 with the objective of jointly addressing the challenges in the global labour market and enabling all people to benefit from globalisation. The objective of the partnership is to encourage governments, businesses, unions and other organisations to make commitments to enhance social dialogue. The creation of a joint OECD-ILO permanent unit at the OECD in 2019 should help deepen the initiative and give shape to a roadmap and action plan for the future.
Many trade union representatives attended the conference including UNI Deputy General Secretary Alke Boessiger, ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow, PSI General Secretary Rosa Pavanelli, LO Sweden President Karl-Petter Thorwaldsson and TUAC General Secretary Pierre Habbard.
Trade union involvement was also encouraged by government officials as a way to promote growth and stability. In addressing the plenary, the South African Minister of Labour, Thulas Nxesi stressed the importance of social peace and stability. Much of the discussions also revolved around how social dialogue mechanisms can help shape and implement responsible business conduct instruments and principles, including the Due Diligence principles.
The conference was an opportunity to highlight recent OECD reports and recommendations that presents a more positive stance towards social dialogue and collective bargaining. As seen for example in the revised Jobs Strategy, the 2018 & 2019 Employment Outlooks and the OECD flagship report on collective bargaining, “Negotiating our way up” presented in November last year.[ii] The conference also examined how megatrends are influencing the future of work and the role of social dialogue in fulfilling the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
TUAC General Secretary Pierre Habbard believes that the Global Deal Partnership could potentially help further promote social dialogue and collective bargaining as the tools needed for addressing the many challenges in our labour markets. “The Global Deal Initiative will hopefully help deepen the much needed ILO-OECD partnership and further embed the imperative of social dialogue – social dialogue that has substance and owned by whole-of-government, including finance ministers”.