Meeting of the BRICS Ministers of Labour and Employment

Labour and Employment Ministers of the BRICS countries adopted a joint declaration

On 25–26 January, at the initiative of the Russian Federation, the first ever meeting of BRICS Ministers of Labour and Employment was held in the city of Ufa, in order to discuss the areas of cooperation in the field of labour relations and employment, social security and social integration in the group’s member states.

News | 26 January 2016
The participants in the meeting adopted a declaration, which reflects the issues related to the creation of quality jobs, the formalization of labour markets, as well as the exchange of information in the field of labour and employment in the BRICS countries.

According to the ministers, the labour and employment policies are of great importance for the promotion of sustainable growth. “We consider the expansion of BRICS coordination and cooperation on promotion of quality and inclusive employment, strengthening intra-BRICS dialogue and the exchange of experiences and information on labour and employment issues, social inclusion is an important step forward in our long-term cooperation for the benefit of our peoples and the international community,” the Declaration states.

The ministers have agreed to focus the future activities on improving the quality and inclusiveness of employment through the promotion of:
  • Modernization of enterprises and sectors of economy and introduction of new technologies aimed at creating employment opportunities;
  • Development of occupational standards and qualifications;
  • Increasing the quality of vocational education and training of workers in line with occupational standards and qualifications that take into account the current and future business requirements;
  • Labor mobility;
  • Job search, collection and dissemination of information on job opportunities, especially on modernized productive jobs;
  • Development of regulations covering new or not standard forms of work that ensures full respect for workers’ rights and access to social protection;
  • Strengthening social protection of vulnerable groups and protection of the unemployed looking for job to prevent social exclusion or marginalization from decent work opportunities.
According to the participants in the meeting, the formalization of labour market is a global priority, as it is a priority for the BRICS member States, while the informal employment hinders the economic performance and affects the potential economic growth and the efforts to improve the citizens’ well-being. “Strategies to facilitate the transition to formality could include incentivizing employers and supporting workers who seek employment in the formal economy and strengthening labour inspection and enforcement,” the Declaration says.

The document also highlights the importance of social dialogue and the significance of collective bargaining as the means whereby the social partners may contribute to the development and implementation of policies in the field of labour and employment.

The ministers have agreed to further strengthen the cooperation with international organizations (the International Labour Organization, the World Bank, the World Association of Public Employment Services, the International Social Security Association and others) to address specific issues of common interest and to support the development of a coherent strategy for the BRICS countries to promote decent labour.

The ministers have supported the initiative of the Russian Federation concerning the establishment of an information resource on social and labour issues for the BRICS member states, which would focus on human resources development, including the development of modern and effective requirements for qualification and skills.

Also, the Russian Federation has proposed that a memorandum of understanding be prepared between the Ministries of Labour of the BRICS countries, concerning the cooperation in social and labour spheres, which will serve as a basis for future mutually beneficial cooperation.

The Ministers have agreed to maintain the dialogue on labour and employment issues, and to hold meetings of this kind on a regular basis.