G20 Leaders' summit - St Petersburg, 5-6 September 2013

Decisive action on jobs needed at G20, says ILO

In a radio interview ahead of the G20 summit in Saint Petersburg, ILO Director-General Guy Ryder stressed the need to boost consumer demand to spur growth and create new jobs.

Audio | 03 September 2013
TRANSCRIPT : ILO Director-General Guy Ryder has urged G20 leaders to take decisive action to create more and better jobs. In an interview he gave before heading to Saint Petersburg for a summit of the G20, Ryder painted a glum picture of the employment situation.

“As you know there is a total of about 93 million people unemployed in the G20 countries alone. That is about the equivalent of the entire population of Germany and there are 200 million or so unemployed in the world."

“I think it is fair to say that every G20 country faces major jobs challenges and some face social tensions often linked to those challenges. And this situation is unlikely to change unless decisive action is taken. And that needs to start happening right now with the G20 in Saint Petersburg. So the message the ILO will be stressing is that these measures need to strengthen in particular domestic demand which will increase global aggregate demand, get growth moving and bring new jobs into circulation.”

Ryder pointed out that the G20 already has recognized the need for strong action on the jobs front. Labour and Finance Ministers of the twenty leading economies agreed at a meeting in July on the importance of policy measures aimed at improving conditions for growth and job creation. The ILO Director General stressed that while each country needs to tailor a mix of policies that best meets its specific demands, it is clear that most governments need to take measures to boost employment. Several are already doing so.

“Russia itself, which is presiding over the G20 this year, has come up with a very ambitious plan to create some 25 million jobs. Others are acting differently. South Africa and India, for example, are putting the accent on major public employment programmes, the European Union, as you know, is going ahead with a new youth employment guarantee.”

But more needs to be done.

“One thing that can be done is to give particular attention to the terms and conditions of employment of those at the bottom half of the labour force who are suffering I think particularly badly in current circumstances. That means that in many countries, minimum wages could be reviewed, collective bargaining, which is a very important driver of decent working conditions, can be strengthened. And if there is one common denominator I think it is the need to address the real social drama of youth unemployment.”

Ryder stressed that is is now up to the leaders in Saint Petersburg to take action to promote the creation of quality jobs that will contribute to growth and poverty reduction.

Patrick Moser for ILO radio