G20 Leaders’ Summit

Guy Ryder address to the G20 Leaders' Summit in Antalya

"The goal set in Brisbane last year of increasing growth by more than 2 per cent above trend projections by 2018 remains elusive… Reversing this trend in 2016 is vital for the success of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda," Ryder told G20 Leaders attenting the Summit in Antalya, Turkey.

Statement | Antalya, Turkey | 15 November 2015
Thank you Mr President.

I would like to join with others in expressing appreciation to our Turkish hosts.

I also wish to express our condolences and solidarity with the Government and people of France.

As G20 Leaders well know, the goal set in Brisbane last year of increasing growth by more than 2 per cent above trend projections by 2018 remains elusive. The all-too-familiar pattern of high unemployment and under-employment putting downward pressure on wages and household consumption in most G20 countries, discouraging private investment in the real economy and also causing sluggish trade, has become mutually reinforcing and could become a vicious circle, in what economists call a suboptimal equilibrium.

Reversing this trend in 2016 is vital for the success of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda that was adopted in September, including the goal of promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

The work that we have done this year at your request has found that the problem is not “jobless growth” – in fact there has been little change in the overall employment intensity of growth in the G20 – but rather that there has simply not been enough growth.

We have investigated the question therefore of where the growth has gone. And one of the factors has been the rise of inequality and a reduced labour income share in many countries. Our research and that of the OECD and the IMF as well shows that rising inequality has a negative impact on economic growth, in addition to its deleterious effect on social and political cohesion.

Much of the increase in inequality has arisen in the labour market itself, through stagnant wages, increasing job insecurity and increases in involuntary temporary and involuntary part-time work. Addressing these issues, along with more progressive tax policies and strengthened social protection systems can make an important contribution to raising economic growth while simultaneously reducing inequality.

It has been an important breakthrough this year under the Turkish Presidency that the G20 has started to tackle inequality really for the first time.

When your Labour and Employment Ministers met in September they adopted a set of policy priorities to begin to do just this, with a range of approaches that can be adapted to country-specific circumstances. In headline form they include:
  • Firstly, strengthening labour market institutions, including wage setting mechanisms like minimum wages and collective bargaining that help to put money into the households most likely to spend it and thereby increase demand.
  • Secondly, promoting better job quality by improving earnings, reducing labour market insecurity and achieving good working conditions and healthy workplaces.
  • And thirdly, improving employment opportunities – and outcomes – for vulnerable groups in the labour market, particularly for youth at the greatest risk of being permanently left behind due to their low skills.
Mr President, these labour market policies need to be combined with appropriate monetary and fiscal measures such as adjustments to tax and social protection systems to lift the incomes of lower and middle-income households. Investment in infrastructure is equally a proven method of creating jobs in the short term and increasing productivity and connectivity in the medium term.

Good national policies can also have important positive spillover effects to other G20 countries and beyond, by increasing global aggregate demand and ensuring that the benefits from growth are widely shared.

To conclude, in the view of the ILO the decisions that you have taken this year on a set of more ambitious and balanced policies on both the demand and supply side of labour markets, and to tackle the inequality that can undermine our economies and our societies, mark an innovative and an important step forward for the G20.

We commend the leadership of Turkey and all G20 Leaders, and hope that the policy consensus thus developed will be fully and swiftly implemented.

I thank you, President.