OECD Secretary-General

Enhancing social dialogue for decent work and inclusive growth: Launch of the "Global Deal" initiative


Remarks by Angel Gurría,

Secretary-General, OECD

New York, 21 September 2016

(As prepared for delivery) 



Prime Minister Löfven, Director-General Ryder, Ladies and Gentlemen,


The Global Deal is an initiative whose moment has come!


The pursuit of economic growth that creates opportunity for all segments of society – what we call inclusive growth – is a core pillar of the OECD mandate. Decent work and job quality are essential pieces of the inclusive growth puzzle.


Facing up to the challenges of a changing world of work


But even with the crisis behind us, too many people are struggling to find jobs.


And for those who do find jobs, quality is increasingly an issue. Since 2008, real wages have been stagnant if not falling in many countries, and labour market insecurity – the risk of becoming unemployed and the lack of protection against joblessness – has increased.  What is more, these trends weigh heaviest on the poorest populations.


Many cyclical factors are at play here, but we are also witnessing a profound long-term shift in the organisation of work, driven by technological change.


Our recent PIAAC Survey stimates that on average 9% of jobs are at risk of being automated in the OECD area in the next 10-15 years!


Social dialogue as a key to managing this transition


We must grasp the opportunities offered by technology and globalisation. And we will not progress without collaboration with the social partners and other stakeholders.


This is the ambition of the Global Deal: to harness social dialogue as a vital tool to create more and better jobs, thus promoting inclusive growth.


Over the years, the scope of collective bargaining has fallen: the share of union members among wage and salary earners across OECD countries declined from 20% in 2000 to 17% in 2014.


We need governments, businesses, unions and civil society to recognise the profound transformative power of social dialogue, to overcome inequality, unemployment, labour market stagnation.


OECD support to the Global Deal


For the OECD, a successful Global Deal, and renewed social dialogue, is a top priority.


Social dialogue is at the heart of what we do! We are currently undertaking a comprehensive review of collective bargaining in OECD partner countries and we also have a wealth of expertise on issues like job quality - with our quality job agenda and the G20 OECD Framework for Promoting Job Quality.


As the Global Deal calls upon businesses to do their fair share, the OECD has also led international efforts to promote responsible business conduct (RBC) through our Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) and its built-in grievance resolution mechanism, the National Contact Points (NCPs).


Ladies and Gentlemen: the Swedish Government, the ILO and the OECD cannot do it alone. I encourage you to throw your support behind this Global Deal and make concrete commitments, so that together, we can build the collaborative, innovative, dynamic societies in which everyone can thrive.  


Mr. Prime Minister, count on the OECD to make the Global Deal a reality! 


Thank you.