The international trade union movement has called on the World Bank and IMF to use the opportunity of their spring meetings in Washington to accelerate efforts to stem the global collapse in employment and economic prospects. In a statement released by the ITUC and its Global Unions partners, trade unions warn that global unemployment could increase by 50 million people in 2009 unless the IFIs and governments take immediate action to implement the commitments made at the G20 London Summit.
The statement notes that among the groups most affected by the financial meltdown are workers close to retirement in countries that adopted mandatory privatized pension funds as advocated by the World Bank. Global Unions suggests that the Bank participate in providing compensation for the loss of retirement incomes suffered by these workers. The trade union statement emphasizes that job creation and public investment must be an essential part of all economic recovery strategies, and further proposes the reform of global governance systems to ensure that the world economy remains sustainable after the crisis. Noting that longstanding demands for governance reform of the IFIs remain unfulfilled, the statement urges both the World Bank and IMF to quickly and substantially increase the representation of developing countries in their decision-making structures. It also suggests that the IMF should monitor recovery programmes and advocate for stronger fiscal stimulus measures if current expansion plans prove insufficient.
In addition to outlining the international trade union movement's proposals for new financial sector regulation, including the nationalization of insolvent banks, the statement encourages the IFIs to promote active labour market policies, extend social safety nets, and invest in "green" projects to shift the world economy onto a low-carbon growth path. It calls on the IFIs to work with the International Labour Organization to find employment-driven solutions to the crisis, to support the proposed Global Jobs Pact at the upcoming International Labour Conference, and to cooperate in establishing a global Charter for international governance that would include all the major international labour, financial, trade and development instruments.