Saturday, 28 March 2009

Trade unions to G20: Half measures will not fix broken global economy

In a worldwide push for action by G20 governments to pull the global economy out of recession and chart a new course for job creation, financial regulation and global governance, trade unions across the world have delivered a common set of demands to their national governments. The five-point union plan, which includes detailed policy proposals, sets out the actions needed to tackle the crisis and build a fairer and more sustainable world economy for the future. It calls for:

* a coordinated international recovery and sustainable growth plan to create jobs and ensure public investment;
* nationalisation of insolvent banks and new financial regulations;
* action to combat the risk of wage deflation and reverse decades of increasing inequality;
* far-reaching action on climate change;
* a new international legal framework to regulate the global economy along with reform of the global financial and economic institutions (IMF, World Bank, OECD, WTO).

The Global Unions G20 London Declaration, developed by the ITUC and the Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC) at the OECD, sets out the steps which need to be taken by the G20 in cooperation with other governments. It was presented by national trade union movements to their governments, and will be formally submitted to the G20 Leaders’ Summit in London on 2 April. Trade unions from around the world are also joining their colleagues from the British TUC in a huge civil society mobilisation planned for London on 28 March, to press home the need for coordinated global action by governments.

Recovery and sustainable growth can be achieved, according to the Declaration, but only if the focus is on job creation and public investment, active labour market policies, extending social safety nets and special measures for developing and emerging economies. The trade unions also put forward an eight-point specific action plan for global financial regulation, with immediate action to nationalise insolvent banks.

The London Declaration points to the real risk of wage deflation, and highlights the fact that growing income inequality across the world has been a major contributor to the current recession, as workers’ purchasing power has been insufficient to help maintain demand for goods and services. Ensuring that all workers have the right to collective bargaining, and strengthening wage-setting institutions, will establish a decent floor in labour markets and feed economic stimulus through more household buying power. This is closely linked to the broader requirement for reform of the IMF, World Bank, WTO and OECD, with the inclusion of the International Labour Organisation at the centre of an effective and accountable system of global governance.

The union proposals also focus on the urgent need for impetus to tackle climate change, given the enormous environmental, social and economic costs of inaction. Already, governments should be using coordinated global fiscal response to the economic crisis to set the world on a “green economy” path. Creation of green jobs, and action to ensure “just transition” in communities and sectors affected by the move to environmentally-friendly production, are central to achieving the levels of greenhouse gas reduction needed, and will contribute to pulling the world out of recession.

The declaration is available >>> here.

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