The Global Deal is a multistakeholder partnership launched by Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven in September 2016. It aims to address challenges in the global labour market – notably globalisation, digitalisation and climate change – so that everyone can benefit. Robust industrial relations and enhanced social dialogue are at the heart of the Global Deal initiative, as they have the potential to foster decent work, quality jobs and increased productivity and, by extension, greater equality and inclusive growth.
The Global Deal is a concrete input to the United Nations (UN) sustainable development goals (SDGs), especially SDG 8 on decent work and economic growth – but also other goals including SDG 10 on reducing inequality within and among countries. It is believed that social dialogue can be an effective tool for realising these goals.
Background and status
The Global Deal’s stakeholders have to make the commitment ‘to enhance social dialogue in the labour market as a means to achieve decent work and steadily improve job quality, thus contributing to inclusive growth and shared prosperity’. According to the Global Deal’s declaration of support, this commitment means employers must operate ‘with social responsibility and [be] prepared to negotiate agreements locally, nationally, regionally or globally’. It goes on to add that ‘operating with social responsibility also means that businesses should exercise due diligence in seeking responsible supply chains according to international standards’. For trade unions, the Global Deal means ‘acting in accordance with their social responsibilities when they negotiate, but also contributing to the overall development of the company or the organisation’.
- Global Deal: Declaration of support – A Global Deal: Enhanced Social Dialogue for Decent Work and Inclusive Growth
Support unit based in the OECD
This initiative gained momentum at the European Social Summit for Fair Jobs and Growth at Gothenburg in November 2017, which was chaired by Prime Minister Löfven. To date (up to summer 2020), the initiative has been funded by Sweden. Since the summer of 2019, the Global Deal support unit has been based at the OECD in cooperation with the International Labour Organization (ILO).
The Global Deal has three main objectives.
- To increase the number of partners by connecting with new ones: Anyone wishing to join simply needs to sign a commitment indicating their willingness to engage in social dialogue.
- To develop social dialogue skills by organising events to promote social dialogue: These events, such as seminars, are generally organised at the regional level but also in response to direct requests from a partner. The Global Deal also publishes briefing notes explaining how social dialogue can provide solutions to challenges such as gender inequality, the future of work or the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as explaining social dialogue in the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
- Global Deal: The contribution of social dialogue to gender equality
- Global Deal: Social dialogue and the future of work
- Global Deal: Social Partnership in the times of the COVID-19 pandemic
- Global Deal: Social dialogue in the 2030 Agenda
- To share best practice in social dialogue: To share best practice in social dialogue. For instance, examples of best practices can be published on the Global Deal website and workshops can be organised to enable people to learn from one another.
Form of social dialogue
The Global Deal does not promote a specific model of social dialogue. The more than 50 commitments that have been made to date (June 2020) are proof that that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to promoting social dialogue. The Global Deal is about sharing experiences and good practices. Some companies that have joined the Global Deal have signed global framework agreements, while others have not. The Global Deal merely promotes social dialogue as a means to address issues in the labour market, including in the context of international migration, trade and supply chains. There are a range of emerging practices and it is up to each of the labour market actors to decide how they would like to enhance social dialogue based on strong industrial relations.