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Wealth inequality: Trade unions call on G20 leaders to boost the wage share of national income

06 August 2016 By ITUC - International Trade Union Confederation

World leaders will meet for the September G20 Summit in Hangzhou China as growth in the global economy contracts and the wage share of national income continues to fall. Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation said G20 leaders must support new principles on labour income share for income inequality agreed by G20 Labour ministers.

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“A policy agenda that rebuilds strong labour market institutions to create quality jobs and reduce income inequality must be a priority for world leaders meeting in Hangzhou. Business as usual by governments won’t work. Wages need to rise, and with public investment in infrastructure the global economy can grow,” said Sharan Burrow.

2016 is proving to be the most dangerous year economically since 2009. With 45% of the world’s people living on the edge and 53% of people just getting by in the ITUC Frontlines poll. This represents a social and economic disaster.

“Commitments from G20 Labour Ministers to reduce the wage-productivity gap offers a basis upon which G20 governments can give substance to an inclusive growth model.

These commitments by labour ministers need the full and explicit support at the G20 Summit in Hangzhou in September, and they need to be mainstreamed throughout the many G20 work streams,” said John Evans, General Secretary of the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD.

The Labour 20 Statement to the G20 Summit sets out six steps for world leaders to build the global economy for all workers and their families:

  • Co-ordinated action for growth through increased wages and public investment;
  • A new structural policy agenda to tackle raising inequalities;
  • Action on youth employment, migrant integration and gender gaps;
  • Decisive action to meet climate ambition and achieve acceptable technological change;
  • Building a responsible international trade and investment system;
  • Ensuring policy coherence and social dialogue across G20 work streams.

“The world needs to lift income share, a social protection floor, a minimum wage of which people can live with dignity and strengthened collective bargaining. Nothing else will tackle inequality, kick-start economies and reassert a measure of social justice,” said Sharan Burrow.

Read the L20 Statement to the G20 Summit


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