A new social contract to include a Global Jobs Pact

At Labour 20, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon calls upon Leaders to ensure a real recovery.

News | 04 November 2011

As G20 leaders gather in Cannes for a second day of talks over deficits, bailout packages and the euro, ILO warned in its latest World of Work Report 2011 against a double-dip recession and a deeper jobs recession which would further delay the global economic recovery and trigger more social unrest. The report indicates that 80 million jobs need to be created over the next two years to return to pre-crisis employment rates. The recent slowdown in growth suggests that the world economy is likely to create only half of the jobs needed.

2011 G20 Summit, 3-4 November, Cannes
2011 G20 Summit, 3-4 November, Cannes

Recent efforts to reduce public debts and deficits have been disproportionately focused on austerity packages, labour markets and social measures. ILO analysis calls for supporting investment in the real economic through financial reform, pro-investment measures and pro-employment programmes. The report argues that increasing active labour market spending by only half a per cent of GDP would increase employment by between 0.4 per cent and 0.8 per cent, depending on the country. It also calls for a comprehensive income-led recovery strategy to help stimulate investment while reducing excessive income inequalities.

These concerns were addressed by UN Secretary-General in his remarks to the 2011 Labour Summit (L20), held in the margins of the G20. He noted that unemployment is rising almost everywhere, and more and more young people have no jobs and few prospects of finding one. In addition, economic inequalities are widening and poverty is growing.

“Too often short-term financial profits have been put ahead of investing in the kind of world we want to live in. We need to think long-term for a change. The time has come to write a new social contract for the 21st century. That contract must include a Global Jobs Pact,” Secretary-General said.

He called on the Leaders to ensure a global recovery that is sustainable, inclusive and creates real change for those hit hardest. “To get out of this mess, we need a revolution in our thinking,” the Secretary-General told world leaders, highlighting sustainable development, women and youth, as investments that make the most sense for the most people.

“All too many people cannot even see the light at the end of a long, long tunnel… That’s why people are marching. They are anxious, angry and indignant. At heart, this is a call for human dignity – the dignity and respect that comes from decent work,” he stated.

He noted that in recent decades, labour’s share of income has fallen, and the gap between those who work hard and those who reap the greatest rewards continues to grow. “We need a job-rich recovery. Policy-makers must make employment a priority, not an afterthought. The new social contract must also include a social protection floor with stronger safeguards for the poorest and most vulnerable.”

Follow the outcomes of G20 at: www.ilo.org/g20 and at the 2011 G20 Summit website.