Focus on social dialogue and the future of work in Argentina

Buenos Aires, Argentina, 10 September 2018 – During half a day, representatives from the Argentine government, business sector, trade union movement and academia met to discuss the role of social dialogue in shaping the future of work in an Argentinian context. In two panel discussions, participants shared their respective views of the challenges and opportunities connected with creating an inclusive growth that benefits both worker´s, companies and society at large in Argentina.

Argentina´s Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Daniel Raimondi opened the meeting by reaffirming the government´s strong engagement in the Global Deal and that they viewed the partnership as an innovative tool to promote better social and economic outcomes. He stressed the importance of transcending previous public-private partnerships and finding new ways of working together – not least in order to deliver on the 2030 Agenda.

In the first panel, Global Deal Ambassador and Coordinator Sofia Östmark provided an introduction the Global Deal partnership and it´s ambition to foster decent work and inclusive growth by promoting social dialogue and sound labour relations. Deborah Greenfield, Deputy Director-General for Policy at the International Labor Organization, provided a snapshot of what a future of work might bring and stressed that social dialogue is a toolbox with various instruments to help shape the future we want. Flavio Fuertes, focal point for the Global Compact at the UNDP in Argentina, highlighted the links between the Global Deal and the Sustainable Development Goals and how business can be a catalyst of positive change – but that more needs to be done in this regard.

The second panel consisted of Daniel Funes de Rioja, Vice-President of the Argentine Industrial Employers Chamber (UIA) and President of the Food Industry Chamber (COPAL), Mats Gunnarsson, President of Scania Commercial Operations Americas, Gerardo Martínez, General Secretary of Argentinean Building Workers Union (UOCRA) and Graciela B. Guzmán representing the Ministry of Labor. In addition, two leading academics focusing on the future of work, Eduardo Levy Yeyati and Leonardo Ambessi participated. Pedro Furtado de Oliveira, Director at the ILO Argentina, moderated the session.

Some of the things discussed by the panel was that the future of work will not only remove jobs – as often portrayed by media – but also create new jobs that typically require more skills. This have implications of both education, social security and more flexibility – to name a few things. During transition social conflicts erupt. Social dialogue can thus be an effective tool to facilitate and drive that transition and manage the conflicts and inequalities that arise. Social dialogue facilitates transformal change, said Daniel Funes de Rioja.

The seminar took place in the margins of the third G20 Sherpa meetings which were held in the Argentine city of Mendoza. Argentina holds the G20 presidency for 2018 and one of their priorities is “the future of work”. Argentina have linked this to their engagement in the Global Deal and recognizes the role of social dialogue and sound industrial relations to adapt to a changing world of work – which is also one of the aims of the Global Deal partnership.

Ahead of the seminar, the ILO – as one of the founding partners of the Global Deal – had prepared a discussion note which briefly summarized the key drivers of change and their possible effects on people, work and labour markets. It identified some of the ways in which social dialogue can play a role in shaping future of work transitions and achieving decent work. The paper also considered how social dialogue institutions can be strengthened to ensure representative legitimacy, build trust and deliver inclusive outcomes.

Even though Argentina has a long tradition of social dialogue, the participants agreed that the meeting could be the beginning of a fresh start and provide impetus to renewed efforts, not least in light of the economic hardship that the country is going through.

Download the discussion note about the role of social dialogue in the future of work here. pdf (575 kb)