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Wage led growth exposes fault-lines in G20
Melbourne, 11 September, 2014


  • L20 Modelling Resultspdf

G20 labour ministers have put unemployment demand and growth on the agenda for the G20 leaders meeting in Brisbane but failed to gain consensus on the big issue that the world needs a pay rise.

Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation lamented the lack of a sense of urgency to tackle the jobs crisis for the 100 million people unemployed in G20 countries:
While there are clear commitments to jobs for young people, women, tackling informality, safe work and supply chains, recommendations from the ILO, World Bank, OECD and the Labour 20 that we have to deal with wages as a central part of the solution to stagnating demand were not collectively adopted.”

New economic research presented to G20 Labour ministers shows that a policy mix of increasing the wage share and raising public investment in social and physical infrastructure by 1% of GDP – could raise economic growth in G20 countries by up to 5.84% by 2018 compared to business as usual.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott cannot ignore the research – increasing people’s wages stimulates economic growth. Mr Abbott must ensure wage-led growth and investment in jobs is front and centre on the agenda at the G20 leaders meeting in Brisbane,” said ACTU President Ged Kearney and head of this year's L20 Steering Committee.

The G20 labour ministers meeting included a consultation with labour, business and civil society groups where the L20 presented our statement to the Ministers and concluded with a ministerial declaration which had little to give confidence to working people.

Faced with stagnant growth, a global jobs gap of 62 million and falling real wages in many countries, minsters missed a key opportunity to give some hope to working families that policies will kick start a real job rich recovery”, said John Evans.

The only real progress is the ministers agreement to take forward work to increase workplace safety in G20 countries and beyond – in global supply chains. This has to stem the appalling loss of life in tragedies such as Rana Plaza in Bangladesh as well in the mines, construction sites and factories in the global economy,” Evans added.

 “G20 Leaders must ensure wages and jobs are at the heart of their discussion in Brisbane. The world needs a pay rise. Governments can’t keep cowering to the American corporate model of lowering wages and continue to believe the fiction that business can survive without customers who have money to spend,” said Sharan Burrow.