Speech by the Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven

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Your Royal Highness – SDG Advocate Crown Princess Victoria – Excellencies, Distinguished guests,

First of all, I would like to thank you all for coming here, and for the strong I got my first summer job in the early 1970s.
Bruce Springsteen was playing in the United States, the Glastonbury Festival was starting in England; there was a lot going on throughout the world.

And there was I clearing brushwood in a ditch in northern Sweden.

But I enjoyed it.
Because I knew: a job was the foundation of a life of your own.

  • Your own money,
  • your own choices,
  • your own development.

Our jobs have a huge impact on our lives.
How we feel, how we live – even how long we live.
So if you want to improve a person’s life, improve her working conditions.

Improved working conditions can also have a phenomenal impact on businesses.

They lead to:

  • fewer conflicts in the workplace and increased productivity,
  • greater opportunities for long-term planning,
  • lower sick leave and occupational injury rates, and
  • more employees who choose to stay with their employer over time.

So if you want to improve a business, improve people’s working conditions. But that is not the end of it. When people feel better, live longer and have more energy and ability to work, the whole of society develops.

It is becoming increasingly clear in the international debate that one of the great challenges of our time will be to reduce inequalities. We must address the growing public scepticism concerning the advantages of free trade and globalisation, and the growing populist forces. It is time to make globalisation work for everyone.

And it is by addressing the problems in the global labour market that we can build social cohesion and confidence, combat inequalities and shape a globalisation that represses no one, and benefits everyone.

And for this reason we can also say: If you want to improve a society, and if you want to create inclusive growth, improve people’s working conditions.

This win-win-win situation is the driving force behind our Global Deal initiative.

We do not mean to promote a specific model, but rather to generate political drive and create cooperation platforms to promote social dialogue throughout the world.

The Global Deal initiative encourages cooperation in the labour market that could bring about decent work, and enhance economic stability and shared prosperity

Social dialogue is the best way for workers and employers to improve both working conditions and business conditions, based on local and national circumstances – and governments can be there to support.

At the same time, countries must actively contribute to promoting democratic development, fundamental union rights and human rights in the labour market. This is the foundation of social dialogue.

Our objective is for the Global Deal to strengthen workers, businesses and societies and to become a concrete tool to help achieve UN Global Goal 8 on decent work and economic growth, and Goal 10 to reduce inequalities.

There are already a number of us – governments, businesses, trade unions and international organisations ready to pursue this initiative.
But in the context of today’s launch, we simply say: join us!

Only by working together can we succeed.

Thank you.