Decent work around the world

G7 dialogue with trade unions Decent work around the world

Chancellor Angela Merkel intends to discuss working conditions around the globe with trade union representatives. The watchword of the G7 trade union dialogue forum is "Decent work worldwide – a business model for the future".

The meeting on Monday is to be the first in a series of dialogue events during the German G7 Presidency. It is the express wish of Chancellor Angela Merkel to be directly involved in this dialogue with various civil society groups.

"The aim is to ensure that these issues, which we have put on the G7 agenda, are discussed by a wider group and not only by politicians," said Angela Merkel. The various groups will themselves shape the dialogue processes, because the German G7 Presidency firmly believes that civil society engagement cannot be managed by the state.

Complying with labour standards worldwide

Labour and social standards in commercial and supply chains are one focus of Germany’s G7 Presidency. The Chancellor will be speaking on this matter in the afternoon, followed by a discussion with Rainer Hoffmann, President of the Confederation of German Trade Unions (DGB), and Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation.

In a video podcast Angela Merkel explains that the G7 states should exert pressure to ensure that standards, such as those set by the International Labour Organization (ILO) are actually respected on the ground. "We must not forget that compliance with occupational health and safety measures would generate more growth around the world, as well as helping a great many people," said the Chancellor.

G7 agreement on sustainable supply chains

The German government is endeavouring to have environmental and social standards in manufacturing respected around the globe. Whether in the apparel, coffee or oil sectors, in manufacturing and in trade, it is a question of ensuring fair remuneration, occupational health and safety and environmental protection across the board.

Germany’s G7 Presidency aims to agree on and realise standards of this sort in commercial and supply chains. Every effort must be made to avoid the sort of accidents seen in 2013 in Rana Dakha in Bangladesh which cost 1,130 lives and left more than 2,000 people injured.

On 10 March Federal Development Minister Gerd Müller and Federal Labour and Social Affairs Minister Andrea Nahles launched an initiative for decent work worldwide through sustainable supply chains:

  • Complaints and mediation mechanisms for workers in poor countries are to be put in place or consolidated.
  • A global "Vision Zero Fund" is to be launched to ensure enhanced compliance with safety standards.

    In the G7 states, businesses and organisations are to donate funds in order to set up accident insurance schemes and train fire prevention inspectors.

  • Small and medium-sized businesses in rich countries are to be helped to put their supply chains on a sustainable footing.

Consumers need greater transparency

Consumers need information if they are to purchase responsibly. The German government believes that clear labelling is the answer. It has set up a new information portal and introduced a mobile phone app which enable consumers to check exactly what the many labels and seals actually say about a product.