The G20 Leaders Statement, presented in Pittsburgh on 25 September by President Barack Obama, invited the international institutions to consider ILO labour standards and the Jobs Pact policies in their crisis and post-crisis analysis and policy-making activities.

Drawing on past experiences – Pittsburgh, Washington, Toronto, Seoul – leaders of the G20 established the following priorities for 2011, under the French presidency:

1 - Reforming the International Monetary System (IMS)

2 - Strengthening financial regulation

3 - Combating commodity price volatility

4 - Supporting employment and strengthening the social dimension of globalization

5 - Fighting corruption

6 - Working on behalf of development

In setting up these goals and recognizing the crucial role that employment policies play in adjusting global imbalances, G20 leaders will examine means and policy options available to achieve and promote decent work, within a global framework based on labour rights and social protection mechanisms.

Employment at the core of the G20 agenda – the ILO Contribution

In its report to the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh, “Promoting people, protecting jobs”, the ILO estimated that employment and social protection measures taken by G20 governments since the economic crisis began will have created or saved 21 million jobs in the G20 countries in 2009 and 2010. The report, covering 54 countries, provides national examples of how policies used in crisis yielded results, analyzing the rationale of the strategies adopted in relation to the crisis and the recovery process.

G20 Employment and Labour Ministers met on 20-21 April 2010 in Washington D.C. to assess the employment situation in the wake of the global financial and economic crisis. The International Labour Organization (ILO) has welcomed the recommendations issued by the G-20 Ministers’ meeting aimed at accelerating a job-rich recovery through policies included in the ILO’s Global Jobs Pact and Decent Work Agenda. ILO’s contribution to the meeting was paramount in assessing the evolving employment situation in crisis and evaluating policy options.

In June 2010, concerns over the sovereign debt crisis and growing deficits in Europe have prompted decisions to cut social spending, moves to raise taxes and the pursuit of significant austerity measures. ILO studies showed that doing this could have jeopardized the recovery and slowed down the jobs recovery in the short run. Present at the G20 Toronto Summit, ILO Director-General Juan Somavia said, “The ILO is already working with some G20 members in the implementation of Global Jobs Pact policy measures, endorsed by the Pittsburgh Summit last September, and we look forward to continuing this work in cooperation with our employer and worker constituencies”.

In Seoul, ILO presented an update on employment and labour market trends in G20 countries, urging their leaders to implement their previous commitments of putting social protection and decent work at the core of the recovery efforts. The International Labour Organization welcomed the G20 approach to development centred on investment, jobs and social protection. The ILO has been requested to contribute to a multi-year development action plan spanning nine pillars of growth, ranging from private investment and trade to job creation, skills development, social protection and food security.

Recommendations to the G20 to promote employment growth

Leaders of the G20, concerned about finding a more balanced approach to the global economy, committed to establish a framework for strong, sustainable and balanced growth to ensure “a durable recovery that creates the good jobs our people need.” In response to this pledge, the recommendations issued in Washington came to enforce the coordination of efforts to prioritize employment growth, as an increased number of quality jobs would further lead to an increase in income in many countries, and at the same time would buttress global demand, creating still more jobs.

Read the G20 Labour Recommendations in English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic and German.

G20 Meetings 2011

Several meetings are scheduled in preparation of the G20 Summit 2011, to be held 3-4 November in Cannes, France.

In May, the French presidency will organize a high-level conference in Paris with the executives of major international agencies (IMF, ILO, World Bank, WTO, OECD and the UNDP), the G20 ministers and the social partners with a view to promoting the social dimension of globalization and enhanced policy coherence and economic governance consistency.

G20 ministers of labour and employment will also meet in late September (25-27) to review labour and social policies. High-level G20 experts in the area of employment, together with international organizations (the ILO in particular, but also the OECD, the IMF and the World Bank), and in close cooperation with social partners, will keep the work agenda at the core of G20 debate.