The Meeting of the BRICS Ministers of Labour and Employment

The labour and employment ministers of the BRICS countries launched their two-day meeting in Ufa on 25 January, 2016. Russian Minister of Labour and Employment Maxim Topilin said the participants will discuss issues of legalising labour relations and social insurance, steps designed to increase formal employment.

Ensuring employment is a key area for the BRICS countries, the minister said, adding that informal employment remains a fairly serious problem for the participants. He noted that the Five are doing all they can to involve more people in social insurance, insurance against unemployment, as well as health and pension insurance.

"Today we are working to have the largest number of people covered by insurance. We are also trying to incentivise them to be legally employed in order to have their rights guaranteed," Mr Topilin said.

In turn, Chairman of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions Mikhail Shmakov said about 20 percent of the able-bodied population in Russia are working illegally, which impedes national economic development. He noted that the budget is short of revenues because tax and insurance payments are decreasing.

Director-General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Guy Ryder expressed ILO's readiness to render technical support to the BRICS countries in their efforts to develop economic policies.

He also urged the BRICS countries to pay special attention to youth employment. He pointed to the instability in many BRICS countries that are going through difficult times and expressed concern over the growth of unemployment. According to ILO, it will grow by 3.4 million in the next two years. Mr Ryder believes that this forecast should motivate the BRICS countries to vigorous action. He expressed hope that the Ufa meeting will produce practical results.