Gerardo Martinez - G20 Workers with initiatives in the global economic debate

 

The L-20 (Labor-20), with the Presidency of Gerardo Martínez, General Secretary of the Construction Workers’ of the Republic of Argentina – UOCRA – and International Relations Secretary of CGT of the Republic of Argentina, is set to define the guidelines for its activity during the Argentine presidency assumed on December 1st, 2017.


What is the contribution of the G-20 to the global governance?

The G-20 is an international space emerged in 1999 as a forum for international economic and financial coordination of the world's leading economies, seeking to represent, in a balanced manner, the interests of the developed countries of the G-7 and major developing countries. As a result of the crisis in 2008 and its impact on employment and living conditions, the treatment of political and social issues with a global impact became increasingly important.


What is the G-20’s specificity in relation to other international forums and organizations?

Different working groups and ministerial meetings work within the G-20 to address the essential points of the agenda. These spaces allow to discuss and coordinate policies and actions on a wide variety of issues, such as the United Nations Development Group, whose main objective is the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; the Employment Group, where methods related to labor insertion and welfare of the population are treated and promoted, and others related to environment and the promotion of renewable energies.


Workers organized in ITUC constitute the so-called L-20 (Labor-20), composed by member countries’ trade union representatives, and we participated with a consultative voice at all levels in the debate.


With a modern and dynamic approach, the G-20 is considered as a privileged forum to face global challenges through a more effective political cooperation together with the promotion of concrete actions that impact its member states and other international parties. The country that exercises the presidency and host the meetings has the power to suggest and promote the major issues dealt with the member countries’ consensus.


What will be the position of the trade unionism represented in the L-20 to the 2018 meetings?

The economic and financial crisis of 2008 highlighted the social consequences that problems of labor market, particularly employment difficulties, cause on societies.


It is clear that in addition to peace, in social terms, poverty and inequality are central topics of our societies, and the only real way to fight them back is through education, decent work (quality employment) and social protection.


Employment deficit and decent work continue to be the aftermath of the crisis and they won’t be overcome by reducing labor rights. International organizations disagreed considering this as an employment generator in the medium or long term and they have been working in coordination to alert and encourage this situation. Progress made through the 2030 Millennium Development Goals, ILO Global Jobs Pact, ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization, etc. are proof of this effort.


Strengthening the coherence of macroeconomic and social policies, stimulating and fostering social dialogue continues to be the way to advance in the resolution of employment problems. The post-crisis situation shows that decent work has a central importance, both productive and social perspectives due to the impact on housing and on demand as a brake on unemployment, precariousness, poverty and hunger.


What are your expectations regarding the G-20’s hosting in Argentina?

Argentina is the first Latin American country elected as a host and presidency of that space, a position formally exercised since December 1st, 2017 and throughout most part of 2018. This major relevant task places us in front of the challenge to continue advancing in the path of necessary articulation between economic, commercial and productive dimensions together with employment. That is, in the interrelation between economic and social articulation.


We should undoubtedly advance through deep relationship between education, professional training and decent work, without ignoring initiatives that have already begun their journey such as the functional distribution of incomes and the inequality, which places at the center of the debate an issue associated with wages and income distribution. Topics that even organisms like IMF and the World Bank have defined as obstacles to the sustainable development.


Migrant issues and their rights, as well as their labor insertion were strongly debated within the last G-20 in Germany. Our region could make its contribution in this regard.


Finally, we should move forward in the axis of social security as a central dimension and a way of protection against unemployment and poverty. Declarations and international actions are advancing, seeding new challenges, installing new topics and creating new conceptions on what we must take charge of, as technological changes and how they affect the working class. Those changes will be part of the agenda in the way of the future of work.