OECD Secretary-General

Hand-over of the Global Deal to the OECD by Swedish PM Stefan Löfven


Acceptance speech by Angel Gurría

OECD Secretary-General

9 November 2018, Château de la Muette , Paris



Dear Prime Minister Löfven, Secretary of State Dahlgren, Ambassadors, ladies and gentlemen:

Prime Minister, let me start by thanking you. The OECD is honoured by the confidence you are placing in us and in our esteemed colleagues from the ILO. Together, we look forward to supporting and developing the Global Deal partnership as it enters into a promising new phase.


We measure the importance of the task ahead and the high standard set by Prime Minister Löfven. As the torch is passed to us, I would like to pay tribute to the tremendous political achievement that the Global Deal represents.

PM Stefan Löfven’s role in the Global Deal

Prime Minister Stefan Löfven is more than just the founder of the Global Deal: 


He had the vision to realise that social dialogue could be a powerful tool for delivering on the UN 2030 Agenda, and ensuring that globalisation translates into decent work, better quality jobs and more inclusive growth for all. These are also strong priorities for the OECD and our Inclusive Growth Initiative, a major response to the rise of inequalities.


The Prime Minister provided the leadership necessary to turn that vision into an effective partnership for change. That partnership has grown rapidly and will soon count 100 members representing governments, business, trade unions and civil society. In this respect, the Global Deal offers proof that decent work, quality jobs and inclusive growth are goals which resonate with stakeholders from all sectors and regions of the world.


I would like to salute the substantial contribution Sweden has made towards supporting the Global Deal throughout its phase of development and establishment. As the partnership continues to expand, we hope that others will build on the example you have set.


The OECD’s contribution to the Global Deal and next steps

The key message carried by the Global Deal is clear: social dialogue has a critical role to play in reducing inequalities and in shaping the Future of Work. The rise in inequalities has gone hand-in-hand with a fall in trade union membership and in collective bargaining coverage. Our Framework for Policy Action on Inclusive Growth highlights that creating new forms and spaces for social dialogue can go a long way in helping us achieve our objectives of decent work, quality jobs and inclusive growth.


The new OECD Jobs Strategy, to be released on 4 December, supports strong labour market institutions which improve the bargaining power of workers at the lower end of the wage distribution. This can also help ensure that productivity gains are shared more widely, without unduly raising labour costs.


Similarly, social dialogue can promote concerted adjustment by employers and workers, allowing them to decide what technologies to adopt and how. It has a role to play in providing protection and rights for workers in the platform economy and for advancing gender equality in the workplace and throughout global value chains. Social dialogue can also be a tool for integrating vulnerable populations into the labour market. In this respect, it can be part of the solution in addressing the challenges created by increased migration flows.


For all of these reasons, the OECD has been a strong supporter of the Global Deal from day one. I stood with PM Löfven, ILO Director General Guy Ryder, the President of the World Bank Jim Yong Kim and representatives of 7 national governments in September 2016, when the initiative was launched at the UN in presence of Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden.


Since then, the OECD and the ILO have collaborated through the Global Deal in an effort to develop more effective solutions to the issues raised by social dialogue and collective bargaining in advanced and emerging economies.


We believe that leveraging the complementary expertise and instruments of the OECD and the ILO is a good way forward; and one which has already borne fruit through publications like the 2018 Global Deal Flagship Report.


Moreover, with the creation of a joint OECD/ILO Support Unit, we will have a new, flexible tool which will allow us to further deepen the collaboration between our two organisations, better coordinate our activities and deliver more effectively for the Global Deal partners. It will also help advance our own reflection on social dialogue and collective bargaining, conducted by the Employment, Labour and Social Affairs Directorate, to the benefit of all OECD members. 


Ladies and Gentlemen:

We are undoubtedly at the beginning of a long road, but solid foundations have been laid, and I believe I speak for both the OECD and the ILO when I say that the best is yet to come!


PM Löfven, we look forward to continuing on the path that you have so adeptly charted for the Global Deal and help it progress towards new heights with all our partners. Thank you.


See also:

OECD work on Inclusive Growth


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