04 July 2017
The G20 Hamburg Summit is taking place after a year of backlash by voters against governments, institutions and the very functioning of economic systems, in particular against a global system that has done far more to liberalise and deregulate markets than to share the costs and benefits of globalisation fairly.
At the root of this popular backlash is a double policy failure: firstly the failure to deliver a satisfactory recovery from the financial crisis, creating a “low growth trap” instead; and secondly the failure to achieve a more equal distribution of the benefits of globalisation, technological and economic progress. While a significant proportion of households in G20 countries has experienced flat or falling real incomes for a decade or longer, a small elite has seen its income and wealth rise in often spectacular ways. These failures have led to important segments of workers and their communities losing out and being left on their own faced with increased insecurity about their job and their future.
According to the ITUC Global Poll 2017: 74% of people worry about rising inequality between the richest 1% and the rest of the population, 73% worry about losing their jobs, and 71% believe that working people do not have enough influence on how the rules of the global economy are set.
The G20 Leaders must listen and respond to these concerns by policy changes. The G20 needs to take coordinated action to create jobs and achieve a more equitable distribution of the wealth delivered by globalization and technological change, through collective bargaining, redistributive taxation, skills investments, and strategies for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and climate transition. The G20 Leaders’ Summit needs to make a strong call for policy change and stepped up international coordination.
The Leaders need to re-affirm the call from their Labour Ministers’ Meeting (LEMM) for an “integrated set of policies that places people and jobs at centre stage” and commit to measures towards decent work for all across global supply chains and in digitalised, green economies of the future.” Above all they must endorse their Minsters’ commitment to ensure “that violations of decent work and fundamental principles and rights at work cannot be part of the competition.”