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Trade unions are concerned by slow G20 progress on climate, debt, and cost-of-living crises

18 November 2022

The need for coordinated global action by G20 countries to address the intersecting crises we face is starker than ever. The Indonesian Presidency put critical challenges on the table over the past year and the Leaders’ Summit agreed on some 200 measures the vast majority of which, however, are reiterations of previous pledges. The Declaration points to a general policy pathway but does not provide a global action plan for economic recovery and resilience.

The Summit acknowledged the dramatic impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, including on the cost of living because of the surge in food and energy prices, and the disruption to global supply chains, and supported the “Black Sea Grain Initiative” and other efforts to support countries impacted by the food crisis. The Leaders agreed that the G20 is not the forum to resolve security issues and highlighted the UN General Assembly Resolution condemning Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

Unions salute the G20’s agreement that the maximum global temperature increase should not exceed 1.5oC, as required by the Paris Agreement, and not 2oC as was the case previously. However, the developed countries’ commitment to provide $100 billion per year for climate finance still lacks any detailed fulfilment plan and the new G20 climate finance initiatives are voluntary.

The L20 welcomes the establishment of the Pandemic, Prevention, Preparedness and Response Fund, but  contributions to it are voluntary and it lacks a strong mechanism to coordinate action.

Endorsing the work of the G20 Labour Ministers, the Summit recognised that digital technologies are reshaping the world of work and that the pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing inequalities, which disproportionally impact women, youth, older workers, persons with disabilities and migrant workers. However, the Summit failed to put forward any significant commitments to drive action.

Facing a cost-of-living crisis and an impending economic recession, workers expect global leaders to act to support workers’ purchasing power, tax the wealthy and excessive profits, and use those revenues to invest in the real economy and jobs. A comprehensive G20 plan to counter high prices is still missing.

Trade unions are calling on G20 Leaders to invest in a Global Social Protection Fund, expand the Just Energy Transition Partnerships with social dialogue, and ensure gender equality. These are necessary foundations for resilience and lasting peace.

— Veronica Nilsson, TUAC General Secretary

The New Social Contract provides a reform agenda that invests in the foundations for peacebuilding and economic recovery based on social justice. It is the way forward for the Group of 20 to address systemic deficits and imbalances and reverse inequality through investment in a Just Transition, social protection, social dialogue, and respect for workers and human rights.

— Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary