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Statsministerns anförande vid seminarium om anständigt arbete vid världskonferensen om utvecklingsfinansiering i Addis Abeba


Tredje världskonferensen om utvecklingsfinansiering
Addis Abeba, Etiopien, 13-15 juli 2015
Seminarium: “Financing for Development through Decent Work”

Det talade ordet gäller.

Mr Minister,
Mr Secretary of State,
Mr Secretary-General,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Having a job and an income is an important key to every person’s freedom. A job enables us to provide for ourselves and our families. It gives us independence and even a sense of pride.

At least, this is how it ought to be. But we know this is not the case for many millions of working people around the globe.  

Many jobs are scandalously underpaid. The widespread problem of precarious work creates uncertainty and denies workers social benefits and the right to organise.

People are exposed to terrible risks in their workplace. Children are cynically forced to work in inhumane circumstances. Every year, two million people die at work. Two million people – every year!

This happens in the pursuit of profit. But a world that builds on the exploitation of people is neither ethical nor profitable. On the contrary.

We need to make work decent. It’s a win-win-win opportunity. If fundamental union and workers’ rights are respected, both productivity and growth will increase.

If we reduced deaths and accidents in the workplace by just a quarter, we would unlock resources corresponding to one per cent of the world’s GDP. 

How can we achieve this?

One important tool could be a partnership, for decent work, that I call a “Global Deal”.

Globalisation has opened up the world, spread knowledge and technologies, and lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty over the past few decades.

But true globalisation rests on the idea of sharing.

We share a planet, we share a global economy, and we increasingly share a global labour market.

For this reason, we also share the task of finally taking responsibility for global working life.

And the seeds of a solution are already there – when representatives of labour and capital meet to ensure fair conditions for employers and employees alike, to the benefit of both – and of the society they work in.

What I hope can be developed is a new global concept, where various stakeholders can see the benefits of joining forces to promote joint solutions, while still representing their different interests.

For states, it means ratifying and respecting the ILO’s core conventions, thereby recognising the right to organise, the right to negotiate and the right to strike.

For employers and companies all around the world, it means respecting these rights in practice, taking 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 or the organisation.

And it means states recognising the social partners and social dialogue as integral parts of the democratic form of government, and encouraging concrete agreements through negotiations.


This concept of shared responsibility between all stakeholders is the core of the “Global Deal”.

Indeed, decent work is part of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. Countries would undertake to include full and productive employment and decent work for all as a central objective in development strategies. References to the ILO and its conventions would strengthen this objective.

I believe that a Global Deal between the stakeholders, as a sort of partnership for decent work, would make a valuable and concrete contribution to sustainable development in all three of its dimensions.

The Global Deal does not require new institutions, it merely gives the existing institutions new tasks.

The ILO, with its tripartite structure, has a central role. The ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalisation provides a solid foundation for this work.

Needless to say, there is scope for important contributions from the OECD, the WTO, the IMF and the World Bank.

Bringing about cooperation between parties based on mutual respect and shared objectives is not always easy.

On the contrary, it requires that all parties involved are willing and determined.

It will not go quickly.

But the advantages of choosing this path must be obvious to everyone.

Instead of paralysed workplaces, we will have more stable and growing economies.

Instead of labour that is repressed and silenced, we will have people who believe in what they are doing and want to contribute to its success.

Instead of a global economy that is stagnating for want of purchasing power, we will have more equal and free individuals who dare to invest and consume.

And we will more rarely have to pull people out of the ruins of collapsed factories. Instead, we will let everyone in our three billion-strong labour force be part of an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable global economy that does not repress anyone.

This is the target I want to set for a Global Deal. A handshake and partnership bringing us closer to the objective of decent work for all.

Thank you.