ITUC/TUAC Assessment of the G20 Labour and Employment Ministerial Summit


  • 1607t_g20_empl_assesspdf

The G20 Labour and Employment Ministerial Meeting (Beijing, 12-13 July 2016) was held in a context of a continuing job crisis and of heightened financial and political uncertainties across G20 economies. The Ministerial declaration entitled “Innovation and Inclusive Growth: Decent Work, Enhanced Employability and Adequate Job Opportunities” includes a number of deliverables.

The key outcome is the agreement on new “Sustainable wage policy principles” (Annex 4) and with that, the commitment by G20 ministers to “promote social dialogue and partnership, minimum wages and collective bargaining to better align wage growth to productivity growth and reduce wage gaps” (#16).Other Ministerial deliverables include new recommendations on employability, skills and vocational education and training (#11 & Annex 2), an updated agreement on quality apprenticeship (#14 & Annex 3) – that acknowledges L20 and social partners contributions, sets out to establish national targets and adequate cost sharing – and new recommendations to expand coverage of social protection schemes (#17 & Annex 5). There is also a brief but symbolically important reference to labour rights and decent work in global supply chains (#19).

Hence the declaration offers a number of initiatives that are welcome. But there are however a number of concerns:

  • First, and as with past G20 Ministerial Meetings, the question is whether these promising commitments are just that, promises, or whether they will effectively be observed and implemented by G20 governments in the future. As the L20 Tracking 2016 shows, none of the surveyed countries increased or extensively stepped up demand-inducing action despite the 2015 commitment to do so;
  • The declaration suggests that there is a departure from the Principles on the Labour Share agreed to in 2015 compared to the new Principles on sustainable wage policy. Whereas in the former, there is clear support for collective bargaining (‘reducing wage inequality through policy tools such as collective bargaining’), this engagement is being downplayed in the latter;
  • Another concern is whether the Employment Ministerial outcome, with all its merits, will have an impact on the G20 Leaders’ summit in September and on other relevant G20 bodies. The Employment Ministerial in Beijing is only one in a series of Ministerial meetings held in the run-up to the G20 Leaders’ Summit

read the full assessment in the attached pdf file