On September 29, 2023, the Ninth Meeting of Ministers of Labour and Employment of the BRICS took place in Durban, South Africa, under the theme “Ensuring decent work, dignity and respect for all”, with the support of the International Labour Organization.
This meeting brought together the Ministers of Labour and Employment of the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Russian Federation, the Republic of India, the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of South Africa to discuss the development of their respective policies and to discuss and agree on how to address the common labour and employment challenges facing the BRICS countries, while recognizing the importance of flexibility and adaptability in their strategies, taking into account the unique circumstances of each member state.
At the event, the BRICS labour ministers adopted a “Declaration of the Ninth BRICS Labour and Employment Ministers” in which they emphasize the need for increased collaboration through inclusive productivity ecosystems that lead to more rights and protection at work.
To support this goal, the declaration focuses on the following four priorities, namely:  Promoting labour rights at work and reducing decent work deficits;  Universal access to social protection and guaranteeing a basic minimum income;  Promoting decent work and closing the skills gap in the informal economy; and  Building sustainable enterprises, innovation and improving productivity.
The BRICS labour ministers also adopted a “Statement of BRICS Labour and Employment Ministers” in which they reinforce, among others, their commitment to respect, promote and realize decent work for all and achieve social justice, as well as the commitment to invest in skills development systems to improve access to relevant and quality skills for workers in the informal economy and workers in new forms of employment, as they seek to increase productivity to achieve socially and environmentally sustainable and inclusive economies.
The Director General of the ILO, Gilbert. F Houngbo was present at this event, who stressed that “growing inequalities and labour markets insecurities are hindering global economy recovery”. For him, it is important that within the BRICS framework, “political commitments and ambitious, integrated policy approaches, are needed to make decent jobs, universal social protection, labour rights and just transition a reality for all”.
Marcelo Caetano, Secretary General of the International Social Security Association (ISSA) – ILO, who was also present at the event, highlighted the importance of the South-South Cooperation in the promotion of social protection. For his part, Joni Musabayana, Director of the ILO Office in Pretoria, noted that the funds from the South-South Coop will be important in order to support the initial phase in the implementation of the commitments made at this meeting.