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BRICS to formalise labour talks at Russia Summit
June 11, 2015, 5:47 pm

Workers at the production base of FAW-Volkswagen in Chengdu, Sichuan province, China [Xinhua]

Workers at the production base of FAW-Volkswagen in Chengdu, Sichuan province, China [Xinhua]

Russia has announced plans to host the first BRICS Labour and Employment Ministers meet on 25-26 January 2016.

“We stated that this is a priority of our agenda and that under the programme that we are proposing at Ufa, we will hold forums with the participation of employers and labour unions,” said Russian Deputy Labour and Social Protection Minister Sergei Velmyaikin on Thursday.

Heads of state from the five BRICS countries will meet in the Russian city of Ufa next month.

A formal endorsement of future regular interactions of BRICS Labour Ministers will be made at the Russian Summit.

BRICS labour and employment ministers have discussed ways to boost cooperation during a meeting held on the sidelines of the 104th Session of the International Labour Conference in Geneva on Thursday.

“We outlined our approaches to the concept of Russia’s Presidency and said what we will do in the foreseeable future. These events were unanimously approved and supported. Furthermore, the Chinese minister proposed holding such meetings on a regular basis,” said Velmyaikin.

BRICS countries represent 40 per cent of the world’s population.

With the five countries already launching new global financial instruments like the $100 billion BRICS Bank and a currency reserve fund, discussions concerning labour cooperation among the bloc were overdue.

Russia has lauded the role played by the International Labour Organisation in preparing for a BRICS Labour Ministers forum meet.

Moscow has invited ILO Director General Guy Ryder and International Social Security Association Secretary General Hans-Horst Konkolewsky to the BRICS Summit in Russia.

“We stated that this is a priority of our agenda and that under the programme that we are proposing for Ufa, we will hold forums with the participation of employers and labour unions,” the Russian Minister Velmyaikin said in Geneva on Thursday.

The proposal to host an annual BRICS Labour meet was discussed during the BRICS Summit in Brazil last year.

Most of the BRICS countries struggle with labour rights issues, where rampant poverty and endemic corruption have compounded workers’ problems.

Unorganised workers in India constitute 93 per cent of the country’s total workforce with no social security coverage.

China makes almost half of the world’s goods while being criticized for ‘overlooking’ some of the worst working conditions for its migrant workers.

Meanwhile, South Africa suffers from having one of the highest unemployment rates in the world.

Unemployment Rate in South Africa increased to 26.40 per cent in the first quarter of 2015 from 24.30 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014.

But in contrast to India and South Africa, workers in Brazil have made marginal gains under the Dilma Rousseff administration with unemployment falling to a record low of 4.9 per cent in 2014.

Rousseff’s Workers’ party (PT) has been in power for 13 years.

From 2003 to 2012, the 40 per cent of the Brazilian population just below the median nearly doubled their share of the country’s income gains, as compared to the prior decade.

 

TBP

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