Meeting of G20 labour ministers

Shaping the labour markets of the future

Getting women into employment, integrating migrants, sustainable global supply chains and the future of work were the main topics at the meeting of G20 labour ministers. A joint declaration on key employment issues was adopted at the end of the meeting.

Federal Labour Minister Andrea Nahles opening the meeting of G20 labour and employment ministers in Bad Neuenahr on 18 May 2017 G20 labour ministers drew up recommendations for making labour markets future-proof, productive and fair Photo: picture alliance / Thomas Frey

Some 450 million jobs around the world are dependent on globally integrated production processes. That figure indicates the importance of multilateral agreements in the field of employment policy. The motto of the meeting of G20 labour ministers was "For a fair and social future – shaping tomorrow's world of work". Promoting sustainable and inclusive economic growth is an important objective on the road to achieving that goal. "Inclusive" in this sense means that as many people as possible should benefit from growth, especially commonly disadvantaged groups such as women and youth.

International cooperation in uncertain times an urgent matter

Federal Labour Minister Andrea Nahles stressed that it is especially in uncertain times that "international dialogue and cooperation on a basis of trust across borders and continents becomes increasingly important". The G20 format provided a good opportunity to adopt common positions, she said. The meeting focused on four main topics: getting women into employment, integrating migrants, sustainable global supply chains and the future of work.

The G20 ministers were joined by EU Commissioner Marianne Thyssen, Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labor Organization (ILO), and José Ángel Gurría, General Secretary of the OECD.

The meeting of G20 labour and employment ministers in Bad Neuenahr on 18 and 19 May was the fifth of a total of six ministerial meetings taking place during Germany's G20 Presidency. The joint declaration will be incorporated into the G20 Summit of Heads of State and Government in Hamburg on 7 and 8 July.

Tapping into labour market potentials

Globally speaking women participate in working life less frequently than men do. As a result, potentials for growth are left untapped and important contributions to social and economic development are not realised. The labour and employment ministers agreed on a number of recommendations for improving the quality of jobs for women, including closing the gender wage gap and increasing the share of women in managerial positions.

On account of the large migration flows and refugee movements the G20 countries face diverse challenges when it comes to the labour market integration of migrants and refugees. Guidelines containing good practice examples of labour market integration developed jointly by the ministers were added to the annex to the final declaration.

Promoting youth employment and social partnership were incorporated as cross-cutting issues into all the main topics addressed at the meeting. Ministers also visited a business enterprise to find out more about vocational training in Germany.

Common tasks: supply chains and the future of work

Many products are manufactured step by step along a global supply and production chain. All those involved along the chain thus share responsibility, for example when it comes to labour, social and environmental standards. The ministers welcomed the "Vision Zero Fund" set up during Germany's G7 Presidency in 2015 to improve labour protection in poorer manufacturing countries. The Federal Government has pledged a further 2 million euros to the Fund.

Given current developments in the world of work, the G20 are in agreement that steps need to be taken to equip the workforce with the tools they need to cope with the changes ahead. That includes strengthening continuing education as well as social protection for new forms of work.

The meeting of G20 labour ministers was prepared by the Employment Working Group. The Working Group, comprising high-ranking representatives of all the G20 labour and employment ministries, convened a total of four times.

Friday, 19 May 2017