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Words, Words, Words

G7 meeting on global unemployment

3rd April

Each week in this section we'll be taking a look at some aspect of language.Usually we'll base the discussion on a BBC English programme which examines the kind of language you'll hear when listening to the radio. The programme "NewsEnglish" , for example, takes a short extract from a BBC correspondent or somebody in the news and then looks at words and phrases which may be unfamiliar in everyday speech but common on the radio.

April 3

Based on "News English"

Written and produced by Anna Jones

Topic: G-7 meeting on global unemployment.

i) Introduction to a report by BBC World Service Economics Correspondent James Morgan

The meeting of the G-7 countries on employment in the French city of Lille is moving towards a compromise on the question of global labour standards. Many governments in the developed world have sought to include demands regarding minimum labour standards in poor countries as a condition for receiving certain basic international trade rights. India has led world-wide opposition to the move and it is also opposed by countries such as Britain and Germany.

G7 - The group of the seven most advanced industrialised nations in the world. The leaders meet once a year to discuss economic and financial matters. The USA, UK, Germany, France and Japan were later joined by Italy and Canada. Russia now has observer status.

as a condition for - Here it means that if the poorer countriesdon't introduce minimum labour standards then the richer ones won't buy their goods - that is, give them " international trade rights "

ii) Extract from James Morgan's report

As it moves towards its close it seems that this jobs meeting is working out a compromise on labour standards . A number ofcountries led by France want to see guaranteed basic conditions for workers around the world. France is supported by the European Union and to some extent the United States. The phrasing now discussed speaks of core labour standards and of examining the link between international trade and working conditions. Some argue this is necessary to eliminate slavery and child labour. But countries such as India see such ideas as a basis for future protection is trade moves in rich nations, designed to keep out the products. After all child labour has many facets - it can be exploitative, but it can mean families working as units with children participating and gaining valuable skills. This issue has distracted attention from a similar argument between the members of the Group of Seven on their labour conditions. Should jobs in rich nations guarantee certain basic standards and welfare provisions or do such provisions themselves create unemployment? The debate here is between more deregulation and labour protection and that is likely to remain unresolved even though the host, President Chirac of France, opened this meeting with a call for a third way between these two apparently contradictory alternatives.

as it moves towards its close - A phrase you will often hear in news broadcasts. The meeting is nearing its end.

compromise - Each side will accept something less than it originally wanted.

labour standards - Hours of work, time off, holidays, safety standards etc

supported by - The European Union agrees with the view of France ,and is trying to help it . So does the United States - to a certain extent.

protectionist trade moves - If a country is protectionist then it tries to impose conditions which prevent other countries from selling theirproducts in it. These measures protect domestic manufacturers.

facets - There are many sides to the question of child labour. (The word facet was originally used only to describe the many sides of a diamond. It is now often used figuratively.)

deregulation - If a government deregulates an industry, then it lifts rules designed to control the ownership or the way the industry is run

iii) Extract from an interview with the British Education and Employment Secretary, Gillian Shepherd.

The position is that the labour market everywhere in the world is changing and changing rapidly as a result of new technology and the rapidity ofthat impact. So of course people feel there's change in the workplace and that is why we've put such stress on the importance of having a flexible labour market.

labour market - You can have a fish market, a vegetable market - so, in the same way, you can talk about the "labour market" - people who are available for work and are looking for a job.

workplace - Originally this meant the actual place: factory, workshop, mine. Here it is used more figuratively: we think of people at work rather than the actual places.

flexible - This means that people are prepared to work as needed: not necessarily expecting a permanent job, or a job that is full time.

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