- by Guy Ryder, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation


As John Evans commented last week, the G8 Finance Minsters’ “Lecce Framework” for a “Global Standard of Common Principles of Propriety, Integrity and Transparency of International Economic and Financial Activity” provides a welcome focus on intergovernmental regulation via instruments that govern private sector conduct. We too believe it vital that the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises should therefore be comprehensively incorporated into the Framework, rather than merely referenced as at the moment.


Looking beyond the G8, the G20 is to hold its next Summit in Pittsburgh in September. The “Charter for Sustainable Economic Activity”, being prepared by a G20 Task Force and due to be discussed at Pittsburgh, needs to be comprehensive in scope and incorporate development, environmental and social instruments, including most importantly the “decent work” agenda and the relevant labour standards of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).


We would emphasise the particular importance of labour and social standards in providing overarching principles to prevent recurrence of the current crisis. The Global Charter could help pave the way for stronger, fairer and cleaner global economic growth but it must go beyond economic and trade issues if it is to deliver on that potential. 


Increased financial regulation is essential but it is not enough on its own - the political message of the London G20 Summit was that financial regulation PLUS employment creation is the new name of the game. The Global Jobs Pact negotiated by the ILO in Geneva in June was a promising step in the right direction and governments need to ensure that there is no return to the ‘business as usual’ approach that brought about this crisis. 


There is need for a new model of economic development, one that rebalances the economy between the financial and the real, between labour and capital; and between industrialised and developing countries.


This requires that the G20 in Pittsburgh should press ahead with global governance reforms and support a paradigm shift in the model of economic growth that puts people first.  Hence it is essential that decent work elements concerning employment, labour standards, social protection and social dialogue receive strong support from governments in the context of the G20 Charter discussions.  That way, the Global Standard can provide the basis for a broadly-supported and comprehensive response to the multiple governance failures that brought about the current crisis.