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ILO: G20 must act on jobs for youth, social protection

ILO Chief Juan Somavia heads to the G20 summit with a strong message to tackle the global jobs crisis, saying this would help restore investor confidence.

News | 15 June 2012
GENEVA (ILO News) – ILO Director-General Juan Somavia headed to the G20 summit with a strong message on the need to restore confidence in labour markets by creating decent jobs, particularly for young people, and promoting social protection.

“In these highly uncertain times, when hundreds of millions of people see their aspirations towards employment and decent work wane, G20 leaders must hear and act to restore confidence in labour markets,” Mr. Somavia said ahead of the June 18-19 G20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico (See ILO press release for more information).

“When people stop fearing a lay-off notice and see decent wages again, their confidence will spread to investors in the real economy,” he added.

A total of about 84 million people in G20 countries are unemployed, including 37 million youth. In the European Union alone, over 24 million people are unable to find jobs.

"People will assess the success of the G20 through its action for economic recovery and financial stabilization, through employment and intensive growth. Decent work is what people expect all over the world," Mr. Somavia said.

The ILO chief headed to the summit after the May 30-June 14 International Labour Conference (ILC), which addressed topics ranging from the need for basic social protection for all – known as Social Protection Floors - and the youth employment crisis – a burning issue at a time when 75 million young people are jobless.

Mr. Somavia said he was carrying a clear message from delegates at the ILC - who represent governments, employers and workers from 185 countries - that the G20 must take action on youth employment and social protection.

“Growth is indispensable but can no longer be the sole criteria for the world economy. Creating quality jobs, especially for youth, reducing poverty and informal work, providing fair access to opportunities, especially to foster large middle classes, gradually achieving universal coverage of Social Protection Floors, should be the criteria to measure macroeconomic success,” Mr. Somavia said.

The head of the ILO has been participating in G20 summits since 2009.