This story was written by the ILO Newsroom For official ILO statements and speeches, please visit our “Statements and Speeches” section.

G8 Labour and Employment Meeting

Call for employment and social policies to drive growth and recovery

At a special G8+6 Social Summit, International Labour Organization Director-General Juan Somavia called for new employment and social protection policies to drive economic growth and a recovery from the global economic crisis.

Press release | 30 March 2009

ROME (ILO News) – At a special G8+6 Social Summit, International Labour Organization Director-General Juan Somavia called for new employment and social protection policies to drive economic growth and a recovery from the global economic crisis.

In comments to the G8+6 Social Summit Meeting of Labour and Social Ministers in Rome, Mr. Somavia said, “We need G8 and G20 leadership to make employment and social protection policies a driver of economic growth.”

He highlighted that with the world’s labour force growing by 90 million over the next two years, a deep recession and a long slow recovery will lead to a huge build up in unemployment and working poverty, particularly in developing countries.

“A big part of restoring confidence is building people’s trust in progress towards a new vision of a fairer, cleaner, more stable world,” he said. “This meeting of G8+6 Ministers of employment, Labour and Social Affairs can help us all to make a big step towards that vision and make a major contribution to a G8 Summit this July which puts people first as we seek to build out of the crisis towards a fair globalization.”

Mr. Somavia also said strong international coordination is “vital to place employment and social protection at the centre of the global response effort and multiply the impact of stimulus measures. In addition, international cooperation must ensure that vulnerable countries and people receive financial support for their employment and social protection policies.”

The ILO Director-General said the labour organization was proposing a “Global Jobs Pact” that would be developed by its International Labour Conference in June. He said such a Pact “combines national action, agreed nationally, with global action, agreed globally, on employment promotion and social protection, as well as stronger labour institutions.”

The ILO’s Governing Body discussed a number of elements of a Global Jobs Pact last week including measures for the unemployed, as well as employers; expanding social protection and protecting pensions; targeted support to vulnerable groups and sectors, such as youth; investment in the development of worker skills to prepare for recovery; strengthening of employment services; support to enterprises, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); public investment in infrastructure, through emergency public works with labour intensive techniques; incentives and investments in energy efficient technologies and “green jobs”; socially responsible restructuring of enterprises and sectors; and strengthened collective bargaining arrangements to facilitate negotiated wage settlements, especially regarding low paid workers, aimed at sustaining real incomes and thus consumer demand.

“Such a Pact would be agreed to by the ILO’s tripartite constituency based on the Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization and the main policy tools of the Organization,” Mr. Somavia said. “It would constitute the ILO’s contribution to national decision making and to international cooperation and policy convergence on the crisis.”

“The financial, economic, social and employment dynamics of the global crisis call for equally strong interlinked policy responses in which the ILO with other institutions can play a key role,” he added.