Q&A

What is the focus of the Global Deal partnership?

The Global Deal is a global multi-stakeholder partnership with the objective of jointly addressing the challenges in the global labour market and enabling all people to benefit from globalisation. In the heart of the Global Deal lies the potential of sound industrial relations and enhanced social dialogue as a means to foster decent work, quality jobs, and increased productivity and, by extension, greater equality and inclusive growth. The Global Deal has three key elements 1) accelerate action through voluntary commitments and advocacy, 2) increase the knowledge base through capacity building and research and 3) provide platforms for sharing of experiences and good practices.

What does it mean to be a partner of the Global Deal?

In joining the Global Deal, countries, business (employer organisations and individual companies), trade unions and other organisations associate themselves with the principles underpinning the Global Deal and are encouraged to make voluntary commitments to promote social dialogue. The Global Deal provides a platform for partners to highlight the value of social dialogue and strengthen existing cooperation structures. Joining the partnership enables the associated partners to exchange ideas and good practices, participate in joint projects, share lessons learned and both seek and provide policy advice.

Is the Global Deal involving stakeholders at different levels?

The Global Deal partnership welcomes a variety of different stakeholders to join the partnership, governments (including regional bodies), businesses (employers’ organizations and individual companies), trade unions, civil society, and other organisations at all levels – local, national, regional or global. Governments that join are encouraged to involve the social partners – trade unions, employers’ and business organizations and individual companies.

Does the Global Deal require partners to undertake additional reporting?

Joining the Global Deal does not imply any additional reporting. Partners are encouraged to make and share commitments and good practices on a voluntary basis. They are encouraged to showcase these so that they may serve as an inspiration to others. The main follow-up tool to the Global Deal is a recurring flagship report, the first one published in May 2018, that is scheduled to be published every other year. This report will look at trends and developments in social dialogue, specific themes and highlight commitments and good practices. It is intended to inspire others to use social dialogue to address their own unique set of circumstances – to adapt and innovate. The report will not assess commitments made by partners, but rather highlight good practices and innovative solutions. Partners are encouraged to showcase their pledges, developments in social dialogue and good practices on a voluntary basis.

Is the Global Deal legally binding?

The Global Deal is a voluntary partnership. Partners are encouraged – but not required – to make commitments to promote social dialogue and to use the platform offered by the Global Deal to showcase these. There is nothing in the Global Deal that is legally binding.

What is the role of the ILO and the OECD in the Global Deal?

The Global Deal was initiated by the Swedish Prime Minister and developed in cooperation with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The two organisations are founding partners of the Global Deal. The work of the Global Deal intends to bring the mutually reinforcing agendas of decent work and inclusive growth together. It draws on the comparative advantages of the two organisations. The partnership is intended to build on as well and complement and support the efforts of the ILO and the OECD.

Does the Global Deal duplicate existing initiatives?

The Global Deal builds on already established initiatives and processes and reinforces and strengthens the existing work of different actors in this regard, including the work of the ILO and the OECD as founding partners of the initiative. It emerges from an appreciation that insufficient attention had been given to the the potential of social dialogue to contribute to sustainable development. As such, the partnership seeks to place social dialogue squarely on the international agenda and bring together the mutually reinforcing decent work and inclusive growth agendas.

How was the Global Deal developed?

The Global was initiated by the Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, and developed in cooperation with the ILO and the OECD. The partnership was launched in September 2016 with an initial group of states, businesses, trade unions and other organisations. Before the launch of the initiative, Sweden held various consultations with representatives of different stakeholder groups – trade unions, businesses (employers’ organisations and individual companies), international organisations and other organisations. For example, a meeting was hosted by the Swedish minister for strategic development and Nordic cooperation in May 2015. A number of other bilateral meetings also took place.

What do we mean with industrial relations and social dialogue?

The term industrial relations refers to the laws, actors processes and institutions that frame employment relations, as well as the outcomes (e.g. wages and other conditions of employment, employment security, labour peace, gender and wage equality etc.). A variety of industrial relations traditions exist across different country contexts. Social dialogue refers specifically to the processes involved in industrial relations. This includes all types of negotiation, consultation and exchange of information between or among representatives of governments, employers and workers on issues of common interest relating to economic and social policy. In its broadest terms, it refers to a process or dialogue between two or more actors in the labour market, specifically governments, representatives of workers (and their organisations) and representatives of enterprises and/or employers (and their organisations).

Other actors, such as civil society organisations, have a key role to play in a multi-stakeholder initiative that promotes social dialogue. They may also be involved in meaningful conversations with actors in the labour market. These can bring perspectives from a more diverse range of stakeholders on needs and policy options. While these discussions might inform processes of social dialogue, they are not equivilent. Social dialogue is qualitatively distinct in that it is premised on democratic principles of interest representation involving a distinct set of actors in labour markets.

Is the Global Deal about promoting a specific model of social dialogue?

The concept of social dialogue is broad, encompassing a variety of different institutional forms and processes. These vary across regions, countries, sectors and over time. The Global Deal does not promote a specific model of social dialogue. The more than 50 commitments that have been made to date are proof that that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to promoting social dialogue. The Global Deal is about sharing experiences and good practices. These may vary greatly within and among countries. A model that works well in one country does not necessarily work in another context. However, there is evidence showing that a well-functioning social dialogue is good for workers, business and societies alike. Read more about this in the first Global Deal Flagship report.

Is the Global Deal about promoting Global Framework Agreements?

Global Deal does not promote any specific form of social dialogue. Some companies that have joined the Global Deal have signed Global Framework agreements, while others have not. There is no requirement to do so. The Global Deal merely promotes social dialogue as a means to address issues in the labour market, including in the context of international migration, trade and supply chains. There are a range of emerging practices. It is up to each of the labour market actor to decide how they would like to enhance social dialogue and sound industrial relations.

How does the Global Deal relate to Agenda 2030?

In a broader context, the Global Deal can be an effective tool to help governments, businesses and other stakeholders to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – the 17 goals that the members of the United Nations have agreed upon to improve life for future generations in a sustainable manner. The Global Deal is a concrete input to several of the SDGs, especially SDG 8 on decent work and economic growth and SDG 10 on reducing inequality within and among countries. In addition, the Global Deal treats gender equality (SDG 5) as a cross-cutting theme throughout all its areas of activity and the Global Deal represents in and of itself a potent expression of SDG 17 – working in partnership for the goals. Partners in the Global Deal recognise the major role that social dialogue can play in the governance of labour markets and as a tool for rebuilding trust, addressing inequalities and achieving decent work and inclusive growth in line with SDG 8. Furthermore, beyond its primary focus on sound industrial relations and enhanced social dialogue, the Global Deal embodies the type of cross-cutting integrated action necessary to achieve the SDGs and the multi-stakeholder partnerships needed to realize these.

If you have additional questions, do not hesitate to contact the Global Deal support unit at globaldeal@gov.se