G7 Labour Ministerial summary and outcomes

On 6 and 7 June the G7 Labour Ministerial took place in Paris under the theme Greater “Social Justice in a Global World”.

Dear Members and Partners,

The meeting agreed on:

  • Call for a Multilateral Dialogue and Coordination for the Reduction of Inequalities;
  • Commitments to Promote Responsible Business Conduct in Global Supply Chains;
  • Commitments in Favour of Universal Access to Social Protection in a Changing World of Work;
  • Commitments to Empower Individuals for the Future of Work;
  • Commitments to Ensure Gender Equality in the World of Work.

Please find the G7 Social Communiqué and G7 Social Tripartite Declaration in the Resources section.

Short Assessment: In their efforts to strengthen social justice in a global world, Ministers neglected the need to focus on modernizing labour markets and improving business environments. IOE President Erol Kiresepi, as head of the Business Delegation to the Ministerial, underlined: “Without a vibrant private sector there are no jobs, no decent work and no economic growth. Sustainable economic growth, based on productivity and an enabling environment for business, together with decent work are the pillars that underpin social justice. Social justice is achieved in an environment where economic growth is fostered. That is also the underlying philosophy of SDG 8, in which “economic growth”, “full and productive employment” and “decent work for all” are fully interlinked. [...] Addressing inequality is very much linked to the need to ensure equal opportunities for all. Every individual must be given the opportunity to contribute his or her talents and abilities to society and a country’s economic life. Rather than combating inequality as a symptom, we need to address the root causes:

  • insufficient education and training systems that fail to provide people with the skills needed in today’s labour market;
  • lack of employment opportunities, particularly for people caught in long-term unemployment. Having a job is the basic condition for succeeding in life. 
  • insufficient social protection systems that fail to retrain people for changes in the economy and the labour market, as is called for in ILO Recommendation No. 202.”

The commitment of G7 Labour Ministers to “promote as appropriate the key contribution of cross-border social dialogue and transnational company agreements to foster decent work in global supply chains” ignores the fact that transnational company agreements (TCA) are mainly a European phenomenon with very limited IFAs concluded in Japan or the US. Moreover, the numbers of TCA are stagnating since some years. Thus, there is an overemphasis on this.

For the first time, the G7 agreed on a joint statement with international social partners, IOE/BIAC and ITUC/TUAC. The IOE played a key role in the negotiation of the text, which can be found attached.

The joint statement focuses on:

  • strengthening coherence of the international organizations’ action and the respect of international labour standards;
  • extending access to social protection;
  • adapting labour market institutions and promoting skills development in the new world of work;
  • closing the gender employment, participation and pay gaps.

The statement includes:

  • the recognition that “the expansion of new forms of work have brought flexibility for many and opened up opportunities in the labour market”, while recognizing that “some forms of employment can create risks in terms of access to, adequacy and sustainability of social protection systems.”;
  • the call “to adapt labour market policies and institutions to ensure that they are conducive for job creation, innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as to ensure decent work for all, including clarity of employment status and individual rights, flexibility and inclusion, and an environment where all can participate and progress and no one is left behind.”; and
  • the importance to “invest in lifelong learning, reskilling and upskilling to enhance and adapt human capabilities to new job requirements. Initiatives and measures taken should especially focus on digital literacy and skills, especially for those whose jobs are most at risk of automation, a human-centric approach to artificial intelligence, and on the most vulnerable groups and regions. Social Partners have a key role to play in education and training systems to ensure that they respond to labour market needs.”.

Upcoming: The B7 Summit will take place on 4 and 5 July in Aix-en-Provence, organised by IOE member federation MEDEF. The IOE will be represented by its President Erol Kiresepi.

Please do not hesitate to contact me in case you have any question.

Yours sincerely,

Matthias Thorns
Deputy Secretary-General

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