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G20 labour ministers hold first meeting


Washington : Labour ministers of the Group of 20 (G20) bloc of major industrial and developing countries were holding their first meeting Tuesday to discuss ways to kickstart job growth.

The two-day summit will go ahead without key ministers from Germany, France and Britain, where air travel has been brought to a near standstill by volcanic ash moving across Europe from Iceland.

The labour summit comes after world leaders last autumn declared the G20 the main global forum for discussing economic issues, replacing the smaller Group of Seven bloc of leading industrial nations.

Finance ministers of the G20 will gather Friday in Washington ahead of the semi-annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank.

While the world economy has begun recovering from its first post-war recession, wealthy countries in particular have struggled to bring down unemployment rates. Many G20 ministers have been under intense domestic pressure to take more action on the labour front.

Ministers will review policy measures taken since the G20’s Pittsburgh summit in September and consider “additional steps” to revive job growth, according to the US Labour Department, which will host the talks.