G20 Labour Ministers meeting

G20 Labour and Employment Ministers act to advance decent work

G20 labour ministers’ Beijing Declaration stresses that “productive employment and decent work are the foundation of the livelihoods of people across the world”.

News | 13 July 2016
BEIJING (ILO News) – G20 Labour and Employment Ministers have agreed on action to advance decent work, enhance employability, and generate adequate job opportunities.

Chinese Minister of Human Resources and Social Security, Mr. Weimin Yin closed the two-day meeting in Beijing with the adoption of a Declaration on Innovation and Inclusive Growth: Decent Work, Enhanced Employability and Adequate Job Opportunities. The Declaration stressed that “productive employment and decent work are the foundation of the livelihoods of people across the world”. Action to create more quality jobs was seen as “an indispensable factor for strong, sustainable and balanced growth”.

The Ministerial Declaration, which will go forward to the G20 Summit in Hangzhou on 4-5 September, was welcomed by Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO): “Ministers have provided a strong bridge of practical policies that link the demand and supply sides of the labour market and of the economy as a whole. This will help to arrest and reverse the slide into a slow growth trap.” Ryder, who attended the meeting, also presented an overview of labour market trends and challenges.

Recognizing widening inequality, ministers proposed a range of measures including minimum wage mechanisms and collective bargaining, to address this issue.

They expressed concern that “investment remains weak and is accompanied by a slow-down in productivity and employment growth in most G20 economies. This, in turn, generates slower growth potential. In many economies, unemployment and poor labour market outcomes, in particular for youth, persist. Growth in real wages continues to be sluggish across the G20, and most of our economies are confronting high and rising income inequality.”

Responding to the current overall weakness in employment and looking ahead to longer term structural changes, Ministers identified a range of policy recommendations on creating more and better jobs, enhancing employability and adaptability, and on wages, social protection and working conditions. The Ministers “committed to sustainable wage growth, including through promoting social dialogue and partnership, minimum wages and collective bargaining adapted to national conditions, to better align wage growth to productivity growth and reduce wage gaps”.

“G20 Ministers have taken a detailed look at the common challenges faced across their countries and come up with a very rich set of policy principles which Leaders can draw upon at their forthcoming Summit,” said Ryder. “I particularly welcome the invitation by the Chinese Presidency to include a dialogue session with the international networks of employers’ organizations and trade unions in the Ministers’ agenda,” he added.

The Ministerial Declaration also launched a G20 Entrepreneurship Action Plan. Several annexes provided detailed recommendations on enhancing employability with a focus on skill development and apprenticeships, sustainable wage policies and equitable and sustainable social protection systems.

Looking ahead, the Ministers identified the importance of examining the future of work, including the impact of innovation and globalization, addressing opportunities and challenges of labour migration and reviewing progress in achieving the employment-related goals in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Germany will host the G20 in 2017 and plans to focus on the future of work, gender gaps in employment, global supply chains, as well as labour migration and the refugee crisis.