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The Prime Minister's speech at the roundtable discussion on economic growth and decent work


New York, 26 September 2015.

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Thank you, co-chair.

I would like to address one crucial precondition for achieving inclusive and sustainable growth, and that is decent work for all, women and men, including for young people and migrant workers.

Decent work is crucial for each individual worker. But ensuring labour rights is very beneficial for responsible employers. Decent work increases productivity, competitiveness and economic stability. It creates a win-win-win situation – for workers, for employers and for societies.

As an example, I can give my own society, where independent and strong social partners have helped build one of the most innovative and equal economies in the world.

This relationship between sustainable development and decent work has been established in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and in the 2030 Agenda.

That’s great. But how do we move forward and transform these affirmations into partnerships and policy actions? My answer is: through joint action between governments, trade unions and employer organisations. And to this end, I have proposed the concept of a Global Deal.

For states, the Global Deal concept means ratifying and respecting the ILO's core conventions, including the right to organise, the right to negotiate and the right to strike, and recognising social dialogue as an essential part of the democratic form of government.

For employers and companies, it means respecting these rights in practice, taking their social responsibility and being prepared to negotiate agreements locally, regionally or globally.

For trade unions, it means cooperating and bearing in mind their social responsibility when they negotiate, but also contributing to the overall development of the company.

This Global Deal concept does not require new institutions. The ILO has a central role in promoting decent work globally. The OECD plays a leading role on the issue of inequality and economic growth. The World Bank, the IMF, the WTO, the B20 Coalition and ITUC can all play important roles as well.

The Global Deal is a concrete approach, a method, which would contribute to reaching SDG 8, also in Sweden. My Government has developed a national action plan for business and human rights, which includes a call for Swedish companies to engage in social dialogue, wherever they are operating in the world. I look forward to discussing the concept of a Global Deal here today.