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BRICS Labour Summit opens today in Russia
January 25, 2016, 7:06 am

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

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

In a meet that opens in Russia on Monday, BRICS labour ministers will discuss formalizing the labour market — the transition from informal to formal employment, and information interaction between the BRICS countries regarding labour and employment, according to Russian Labour and Social Protection Minister Maxim Topilin.

BRICS countries represent 43 per cent of the world’s population.

Topilin will host his counterparts from Brazil, China, South Africa and India in the Russian city of Ufa for the two-day summit.

Topilin on Monday said the first BRICS Labour summit will focus on ways to boost access to employment in these five countries.

“The Ufa meeting will focus on three main issues. These are [making] high-quality employment available to everyone….. facilitating job searches, and labour mobility,” Topilin told Russian agency Ria Novosti.

Earlier last year, Russia, the current chair of BRICS, had said “labour is a priority of our agenda”.

A joint declaration on Tuesday that they intend to increase employment, enhance social protection and, in the long run, to guarantee income growth and reduce social tensions over employment, according to the minister.

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

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 in June last year.

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.

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 14 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 and Agencies

 

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