03 May 2022
On Friday 29 April 2022, the Italian government, chairing this year’s Ministerial Council Meeting (MCM) of the OECD (9-10 June) under the title “The Future We Want: Better Policies for the Next Generation and a Sustainable Transition”, presided in Rome the MCM consultation with social partners (TUAC and Business at OECD). The consultation feeds into the broader MCM process, providing a platform for trade union and business representatives at the OECD to bring the social partners’ perspective on key topics of interest, and for their voice to be considered by ministers attending the meeting in June.
The priorities set by the Italian presidency for the coming MCM include perspectives for the youth in the recovery; green transition; health preparedeness and pandemic prevention; OECD and Africa; trade and investment.
Participants included Italian Minister for Public Administration, Renato Brunetta, OECD Secretary General Matthias Cormann, delegations from the OECD, TUAC, Business at OECD and a number of Ambassadors from country delegations to the OECD.
The TUAC delegation, led by Acting President Marc Leemans, included representatives of all three Italian trade union confederation (Gianna Fracassi, Deputy Secretary General, CGIL; Tiziana Bocchi, Confederal Secretary, UIL; and Cosmo Colonna, Senior Environmental Officer, CISL), as well as the British Trades Union Congress (Kate Bell, Head of the Rights, International, Social and Economics department).
The meeting took place in a fragile global environment, marked by the war in Ukraine and weakened economic recovery, two years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. TUAC delegates highlighted risks to macroeconomic stability, most notably subdued global economic growth as a consequence of the Russian attack on Ukraine, and considerable inflationary pressures on different commodity markets, from energy to food. Broader implications were discussed, from the need to actively support refugees fleeing Ukraine and prevent abuse, to protecting workers and households’ purchasing power, also in light of the fact that real wages have been stagnating in many OECD countries for years.
The TUAC delegation urged OECD governments to tackle long-standing challenges, from subdued economic growth, to rising inequalities, with attention to fragile groups, from youth to elderly, from low-skill to frontline and non-standard workers. It also stressed the linkage between precarious and unequal economic conditions for many, and the wavering confidence in democracy and public institutions. For trade unions it is imperative to tackle these concerns, starting with a reversal of labour policy reforms that led to dual labour markets, including by strengthening employment protection and labour market institutions. Workers have to be at the centre of the policy agenda, and the employment recovery must be a quality jobs recovery.
On the digital and green agenda, TUAC highlighted the need to safeguard workers’ and citizens’ privacy and human rights, addressing legal and ethical standards on data access and sharing, algorithmic transparency and frontier technologies, as well as the need to embed Just Transition principles in order to minimise negative externalise on workers and their families, securing a smooth shift to the green economy.
On the tax agenda, the TUAC called on the OECD to step up work on progressiveness and fairness of the tax systems in the face of mounting levels of inequality, especially at the top of the income and wealth distribution.
Finally, it also encouraged to seek coherence between trade and investment treaties, workers’ rights and broader sustainability goals.
In the weeks leading to the MCM, TUAC will put effort to ensure that its key social and economic priorities are reflected in the final output of the Ministerial’s work.