Education International
Education International

Education at heart of trade union recommendations to G20

published 2 September 2013 updated 10 September 2013

Putting public services such as education high on the G20 agenda is just one of the priority recommendations from the Labour 20 (L20) for the G20 leaders’ meeting to be held in St Petersburg, Russia, from 5-6 September. The L20 is made up of the elected representatives of trade unions from G20 countries.

According to the L20, the G20 itself has lost ground and trust in its ability to coordinate policies necessary to pull economies out of the crisis as commitments appear not to be acted on. People feel abandoned by their governments – eight out of 10 people say their government has failed to tackle unemployment, says the L20. Only one in seven (13 per cent) people feel that their government is governing in the interests of working people.

Action needed for economic recovery

“We need a change in the pace and depth of actions on both the global and national levels,” according to the L20. “The G20 should take coordinated action to kick start recovery towards job-centred, inclusive, green and sustainable long-term growth. G20 governments have to live up to their commitments made in Los Cabos [G20 summit, 2012] and take action to support domestic demand by investing in education, innovation and infrastructure. Measures have to simultaneously ensure a transition to a ‘green economy’ and sustainable development with quality jobs.”

It set the following key policy priorities:

·         Create quality jobs and inclusive growth and set national employment targets

·         Foster youth inclusion in the labour market

·         Raise sustainable aggregate demand

·         Increase long-term investment in infrastructure and the green economy

·         Stamp out tax evasion and profit shifting and move to fair and progressive taxation

·         Drive effective regulation of the financial system and work to introduce a global Financial Transaction Tax (FTT)

·         Guarantee workers’ rights and safe work in Global Value Chains (GVCs)

Leaders of the labour movement also added that, to attain these priorities, G20 leaders must implement a holistic G20 Jobs Action Plan that would:

·         Set national employment targets

·         Raise sustainable aggregate demand

·         Increase public and private investment

·         Mobilise private and public resources with tax measures and an FTT

·         Reduce income inequality through strengthened collective bargaining, robust minimum wages and a social protection floor

To support aggregate demand and reduce inequality, they further stressed that there is a need to ensure access to quality public services and utilities, specifically education and healthcare.

Employment road map

To create jobs and promote skills for all generations, the L20 also recommended the following measures be taken:

·         Strengthen labour market institutions and provide incentives for job creation

·         Increase education and skills training and lifelong learning

·         Scale up quality apprenticeships with expansion into female-dominated sectors

·         Devise strategies to reduce the informal economy and formalise sustainable business and provide decent work

·         Enable SMEs to expand and provide decent work in part by ensuring affordable finance

·         Establish tax and benefit systems that contribute to both raising productivity and reducing inequality

The L20 also called on the G20 to work to end exploitation, ensure labour rights and decent work in GVCs by, among other steps, ensuring that the new post-2015 Millennium Development Goals include decent work and social protection floors, public education and climate justice, and ensure an ambitious global deal on climate change in 2015.

EI: Education vital in times of crisis

“EI fully supports the L20 leaders’ recommendations,” said EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen. “These are the tools necessary to get out of the crisis and provide a better future for our society. The L20 is the strong voice of workers to which global leaders must listen.”

He also welcomed the fact that the L20 emphasised the importance of preserving public services, such as health and education. He underlined that quality education for all must be guaranteed by public authorities, even more so in times of economic and financial crisis.

The L20 priority recommendations can be read in full here