What is the Global Deal?
The Global Deal is a global partnership with the objective of jointly addressing the challenges in the global labour market and enabling all people to benefit from globalisation. The Global Deal is a multi-stakeholder partnership in line with Goal 17 (“partnerships for the goals”) in the UN 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. It is also a concrete input to several of the other goals, not least goal 8 on decent work and inclusive growth and goal 10 on inequalities.
The Global Deal aims to encourage governments, businesses, unions and other organisations to make commitments to enhance social dialogue. Social dialogue includes all types of negotiation, consultation or exchange of information between or among representatives of governments, employers and workers on issues of common interest relating to economic and social policy. Effective social dialogue can contribute to decent work, quality jobs and increased productivity and by extension to greater equality and inclusive growth. The Global Deal thus offers a win-win-win opportunity for all actors on the labour market.
The Global Deal intends to bring together various stakeholders to promote joint solutions while still representing their different interests. Effective social dialogue requires mutual respect and trust to create favourable conditions for collaboration between employers, workers and governments. This can lead to peace in the labour market, promote competition and enhance economic stability and shared prosperity. While the Global Deal has a long-term vision, it requires immediate commitments and actions at national, regional and global levels.
The Global Deal is a concrete input to the sustainable development goals (SDGs), especially SDG 8 on decent work and economic growth but also other goals including SDG 10 on reducing inequality within and among countries. Social dialogue can be an effective tool for realising these goals.
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Why is the Global Deal needed?
In too many places around the world, workers are denied basic human rights and some are even persecuted and killed. Children are still forced to work in the most inhumane conditions, and migrants are exploited in horrific ways. Every year, there are 2.3 million work-related deaths, 310 million non-lethal accidents and 160 million work-related cases of illness.
In many countries, growing inequalities fuel social unrest and impede sustainable economic growth. The economic crisis has taken a toll on the labour markets, changing the quality of existing jobs. It is estimated that over 600 million new jobs need to be created by 2030 just to keep pace with the growth of the global working-age population. Conditions also need to be improved for the 780 million women and men who are working but not earning enough to lift themselves and their families out of poverty, and the transition from the informal to the formal economy must be facilitated. Employment is the link between economic development and poverty reduction – access to more and better jobs is the key to improving living conditions and achieving the SDGs. Women and men must be ensured equal opportunities on the labour market and equal participation in decision-making.
OECD work has underlined that well-functioning social dialogue that adapts effectively to changes in the world of work, technological developments and fluctuations in demand is an important tool for generating decent work and improved job quality. For societies, the Global Deal can contribute to social cohesion, build trust and inclusion and reduce the risk of social unrest. It can play an important role in reducing inequalities and ensuring that all parts of society can benefit from globalisation. From a business perspective, well-developed social dialogue is economically profitable. The benefits include increased productivity, more stable and secure supply chains, better conditions for long-term planning and risk management, reduced risk of disruption to business operations, improved investor relations, stronger brands and, not least, healthier and more loyal workers. For workers, the Global Deal can provide opportunities for a fair income, career advancement, security in the workplace, better prospects for personal and professional development and social integration, freedom to express their concerns, organise and participate in the decisions affecting their lives, and equality of opportunity and treatment for all women and men. The Global Deal brings together the social, human rights and business perspectives.
The Global Deal will build on already established initiatives and processes. It can contribute by providing political direction and impetus to overall development, by scaling up existing processes, and by promoting research and highlighting opportunities for cooperation. It can also contribute to capacity building and increasing awareness of the benefits of social dialogue.
Enhanced social dialogue provides opportunities the world cannot afford to ignore. It is both morally right and economically smart. It is time to make globalisation work for everyone.