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22 Feb, 2013

Global Trade Unions: G20 Must Break Circle of Rising Unemployment, Falling Confidence and Trust


G20 Must Break the Circle of Rising Unemployment and Falling Confidence and Trust
Geneva (ITUC Press release) 21 February 2013: As the first G20 Employment Task Force meeting of 2013 opened in Moscow, international unions underscored that a jobs target from the G20 is essential to tackle unemployment and inequality and stem the social crisis which has followed in the wake of the financial crisis.

Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, said a vicious circle is being set in motion with the jobs outlook remaining as bleak as ever.

Unemployment is set to rise in 2013. More than 200 million people will be without work, and 40% of those without work are young people.

“A youth guarantee and scaling up apprenticeships are measures that can alleviate the pressure of 45 million young people looking for a job vacancy each year. “Income led recovery, quality employment and a social protection floor are key drivers to tackling the jobs crisis and reducing inequality,” said Sharan Burrow.

According to the ILO, the global economy needs to create 600 million productive jobs over the next decade to maintain social cohesion.

Growing social unrest from austerity, high fuel prices and low wages has spread from Greece, Bulgaria and India.

“In 2009, G20 countries committed themselves to a coordinated stimulus package. Since then, the room for manoeuvring has diminished for a significant number of economies. There is room for policy makers to act immediate and create a holistic plan for jobs,” said John Evans, ITUC Chief Economist.

“In July the first joint meeting of G20 Employment and Finance Ministers will take place with expectations of employment playing a vital role in recovery plans, as wages constitute the basis for stable and shared consumption-based recovery,” said John Evans.

International unions have put forward the following measures to the G20 to grow jobs and economies.

- Investing in and facilitating investing in infrastructure, including shifting taxation to environmental negatives to promote environmentally sustainable growth;

- Ensuring affordable credit for small to medium enterprises;

- Minimum wages, wages on which people can live, to arrest wage deflation and stabilise demand;

- Strengthening collective bargaining to reduce the gap between productivity and profit and ensure working families have the capacity to shore up local business;

- Investing in scaling up quality apprenticeships and internships to include young people in the labour force and increase skills;

- Target cash-transfers to low-income households, particularly where government subsidies, such as those on fossil fuels, are reduced.