Labour Representatives met for the L20 Summit to confront the Jobs Crisis at the G20
19/07/2013On the eve of the social partners' consultations with G20 Labour Ministers and first Joint meeting of Labour and Finance Ministers, the Labour 20 held its own Summit in Moscow to discuss ways out of the global economic and social crisis. Mikhail Shmakov, President of the Russian Trade Union Centre (FNPR), who hosted the Summit together with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), said that job creation, especially for youth, in cooperation, with social partners should be the top global policy priority.
At the summit, trade union representatives from G20 countries, partner countries and of the International Trade Unions adopted the L20 Statement to the Ministerial Meetings. The reduction of global unemployment and injection of the notion of a fair, inclusive, green and sound growth with strong aggregate demand, active labour market policies and tax transparency into G20 policies was at the heart of this summit's debates. The G20 Russian Sherpa, Ksenya Yudaeva said that L20 demands for job creation, poverty reduction and social inclusion will be an essential part of the G20 Leaders Summit in September.
The L20 condemned austerity policies and called for a shift towards investment in job creation, infrastructure, skills, the care economy and green growth to facilitate productive economic activity, including in SMEs. The ITUC Global Poll 2013 that was specifically prepared for the G20 meetings and presented at the summit, revealed that 80% of voters in G20 countries think governments have failed to tackle unemployment. The findings display a strong support for L20 positions on the labour market, social protection and taxation, as well as collective bargaining and social dialogue, as ITUC's Secretary General Sharan Burrow confirmed.
Specifically with regard to future generations, the L20 strongly supports quality apprenticeships, confirming its willingness to cooperate with the B20, but also pushes for a "Jobs Guarantee" for young people to bring them back into the labour force. In this respect, the B20 and L20 held joint consultations on possible collaboration issues as skills enhancement and presented a joint statement on quality apprenticeships during a press conference with Alexander Shokhin, President of RSPP and Daniel Funes de Rioja, Vice-President of IOE together with M. Shmakov and S. Burrow.
During the discussion on the G20 Employment Agenda, Russia's Deputy Labour Minister Aleksey Vovchenko agreed that unemployment, particularly of the youth and other vulnerable groups, informality and precarious work need to be addressed and policy commitments further monitored. The L20 has consistently called for a renewed mandate of the Employment Task Force to carry out the monitoring task, so that policy commitments would be transformed into real government actions. Delegates also underlined that Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) can be a source for job creation and growth, however they need access to finance and supporting programmes to increase their export potential.
Upon releasing two OECD and ILO joint polls, one on the current jobs market, the other on actions taken by G20 countries since 2010, ILO Director-General, Guy Ruder underlined the crucial need to restore social cohesion, youth employment and decent work conditions. OECD Secretary General, Angel Gurría, presented recommendations to G20 Ministers on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS), admitted that trust in the fairness of economies is shattered throughout the G20 and new rules to end the "non-taxation" of Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) are needed. Rudy de Leeuw, President of the Fédération Générale du Travail de Belgique (FGTB) specifically addressed the fact that progressive tax systems were eroded and need to be restored, while a Financial Transaction Tax (FTT), an automatic exchange of information and actions fighting tax havens and tax erosion by MNEs need to be put in place.
In view of future challenges and solutions, the General Secretary of the Spanish Trade Union Center Comisiones Obreras (CCOO), Ignacio Fernández Tojo, while speaking on the devastating economic and social crisis in Southern Europe, warned about risking elevated poverty growth until the point of no return is reached. To avoid such a scenario, the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB), represented by Director Barbara Susec and Veronica Nilsson, the Confederal Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), put forward the proposal for an "Investment Plan for Europe" throughout the next 10 years to stimulate growth in order to create the basis for competitiveness.
Referring to the months ahead, the TUAC Secretary General, John Evans said that unions would be seeking a fundamental policy shift from austerity to growth. On the structural agenda, he remarked that the L20 would have no problem with structural "reform" that is focused on education and technology, however, the deregulation of labour markets is a wrong policy choice and needs to be challenged. He also added that - not at least following the Rana Plaza disaster - working conditions in global value chains of MNEs need to be addressed at the forthcoming Leaders' Summit in September.
Read the L20 key messages here.