The future of the Global Deal Partnership is ensured

International issues Recently we heard the news that the Global Deal Partnership will be taken over by the OECD in Paris, with the support of the ILO. Thereby the future of the initiative of Prime Minister Stefan Löfven is ensured. With nearly 100 actors, consisting of companies, trade unions and countries, adequate conditions now exist for the Global Deal to become a genuine resource for development and to contribute to long-term sustainable economic progress and decent working conditions for workers worldwide.

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Launched in 2016

The decision by the OECD to host the Global Deal was preceded by an intensive discussion, which eventually could be finalised as concessions were made by some countries. Now it remains to be seen if the change of the hosting organisation can induce employers’ organisations to join the initiative. At the International Labour Conference in June, the employers’ group, headed by the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, was totally opposed to the Global Deal – an opposition based on misunderstandings and falsehoods. Now as the number of companies becoming partners is growing and the OECD becomes the hosting organisation, there are better chances that the deadlock can be broken, and that employers will discover the benefits of the Global Deal.

The Global Deal Partnership was launched in 2016 at the UN, and being based on the successful experience from the creation of the strong Swedish and Nordic economies, it can benefit others by providing opportunities to improve the relations between workers and employers.

A means to promote social dialogue and collective bargaining

The pace of globalisation and changes in the international economy are accelerating, and this necessitates more and better action to safeguard workers’ rights. There are already long-standing initiatives by the UN and the OECD. Trade unions conclude international framework agreements with companies. In addition, negotiations are in progress at the UN on an international treaty regarding exhaustive obligations for business to respect fundamental human rights in working life – the UN Binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights. All measures are important. The Global Deal does not replace any prior achievement, but it should instead be seen as one further means of developing the relations between social partners, with the aim of reinforcing social dialogue and collective bargaining.

In an article published recently, LO highlighted the importance of ongoing support from the next Swedish government and the need to hold a leading position in the development of the Global Deal, notably through supply of resources. LO decided to support the Global Deal already at an early stage, and we remain committed to this work.

Within a couple of weeks, a workshop will be organised in Nigeria jointly with the Swedish Institute, with the aim of promoting social dialogue in the spirit of the Global Deal. Entrepreneurs, trade unions and government representatives from several African countries will come together to initiate Let’s Talk Africa, a common effort that will benefit all parties. Moreover, LO is working actively together with its affiliates to ensure that the Global Deal is given priority position in the next budget and to ensure continued commitment by the Swedish government.

Oscar Ernerot, International Secretary, LO