WASHINGTON/GENEVA (ILO News) – The International Labour Organization (ILO) has welcomed the recommendations by the G-20 Labour and Employment Ministers’ meeting aimed at accelerating a job-rich recovery through policies included in the ILO’s Global Jobs Pact and Decent Work Agenda.
Emphasizing the Ministers’ focus on growth in jobs and incomes, ILO Director General Juan Somavia said “There cannot be a sustainable recovery without a strong jobs recovery. This requires a greater convergence and coordination between macroeconomic policies and policies dealing with employment, labour markets, skills and social protection.”
In a statement issued at the close of their two-day meeting in Washington, G-20 Labour and Employment Ministers highlighted the ILO Jobs Pact and Decent Work Agenda as “valuable resources for our governments as we design further measures to address employment and social protection systems."
The Ministers consider that their recommendations “provide ample room for adaptation to the particular needs of our countries while keeping in perspective that we can reach a higher equilibrium of progress and well being for our citizens by acting together than any of us can achieve alone. We believe they will make a strong contribution to the G-20 Framework for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth and will enhance policy coherence.”
Mr. Somavia recalled that “the framework for the Ministers’ meeting was set by G-20 Leaders’ policy decisiveness in Pittsburgh, where they said ‘We cannot rest until the global economy is restored to full health and hard-working families the world over can find decent jobs.’ Although most G-20 countries have positive growth projections for 2010, unemployment is forecast to increase, or at best not fall. Reducing the time lag between output growth and employment creation in socially acceptable ways is a key political challenge ahead. This is what the ILO Global Jobs Pact is about.”
The G-20 Ministers' final statement says: “We want to ensure that productivity gains are shared with workers as rising living standards; that work is a reliable path out of poverty for all of our people; that the fundamental rights of workers are respected; and that social dialogue is fostered.” The ministers offered five sets of policy recommendations to be considered by G-20 Leaders:
- § accelerate job creation to ensure a sustained recovery and future growth
- § strengthen social protection systems and promote inclusive active labour market policies
- § place employment and poverty alleviation at the centre of national and global economic strategies
- § improve the quality of jobs for our people
- § prepare our workforces for future challenges and opportunities
The recommendations aim to "support the coordination of efforts to prioritize employment growth because strong growth of jobs and incomes in many countries at the same time will buttress global demand, creating still more jobs. Growth in employment and incomes in all regions, and particularly in countries with large shares of low-income households, also represents an indispensable contribution to strong, sustained and balanced global growth, a key goal of our countries’ overall economic policy coordination."
Stressing the importance of improved labour market conditions to sustained and balanced growth, Mr. Somavia said: “As countries gradually rein in discretionary fiscal spending, they should at the same time continue to target employment and income support on workers having difficulty in finding decent work. It is vital that household consumption and investment in sustainable enterprises start pushing employment and the economy up. The faster the pick-up in employment the more buoyancy will there be in tax revenues and unemployment-related expenditure will fall."
In their recommendations to the G-20 leaders, Labour and Employment Ministers declared: "We can learn from each other’s experience with policy interventions to improve the quality as well as quantity of jobs."
The G-20 employment and labour ministers also attached to their recommendations the ILO report analyzing the impact of the policy measures taken by G-20 countries. The report estimates that economic crisis policies adopted by G-20 governments saved or created an estimated 21 million jobs in 2009 and 2010.
Prior to their meeting, the G-20 Ministers met leaders of the global networks of trade unions and employers organizations, an initiative warmly welcomed by Mr. Somavia.
G-20 Labour and Employment Ministers' recommendations respond to a request by G-20 Leaders in Pittsburgh in September last year to “assess the evolving employment situation, review reports from the ILO and other organizations on the impact of policies we have adopted, report on whether further measures are desirable, and consider medium-term employment and skills development policies, social protection programs, and best practices to ensure workers are prepared to take advantage of advances in science and technology.”
For more information on the ILO report presented at the G-20 please visit www.ilo.org/jobcrisis
Mr. Philippe Egger, Deputy Director of the Office of the ILO Director General + 4179/593-15-26
Ms. Nancy Donaldson, Director, ILO Washington: firstname.lastname@example.org, mobile +1202/365-8355
Mr. Stephen Pursey, ILO Director of the Policy Integration Department: email@example.com, mobile +4179/593-13-71