Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Trade Unions’ Message to OECD Ministers: Beat the Jobs Crisis First!

In a statement to the OECD Ministerial Meeting 27-28 May 2010, trade unions urge governments to put jobs, social cohesion, progressive taxation and green growth at the heart of recovery strategies. Global unemployment has risen by 34 million since the crisis began and many millions more workers who cannot find regular employment are not recorded as unemployed. We cannot afford a lost decade of stagnant labour markets and with it a lost generation of youth shut out from productive activity.

Union leaders including Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO United States, Sharan Burrow, President of the International Trade Union Confederation and the Australian Council of Trade Unions and John Evans, General Secretary of TUAC will be taking part in the OECD Ministerial Council as members of the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD. This is the first time that unions and employers have been invited to the full Ministers’ meeting. Union leaders will be taking part in the OECD Forum running on 26-27 May.

The union leaders will argue that rising public deficits across OECD countries must be addressed by growth-expanding demand that leads to an increase in output and jobs. Financing fiscal consolidation through cuts in public services, in social security and pensions would only prolong the jobs crisis and risk a social crisis. OECD governments must change the policies of the past two decades that led to the crisis – financial deregulation, rising income inequality and global imbalances. They must muster the same level of political will that was used to save the global banking system to beat the global jobs crisis.

“Working people need the right skills for tomorrow’s global economy, they need a socially ‘just transition’ to the green economy, and robust labour market institutions, including collective bargaining, to produce fairer income distribution”, says John Evans of the TUAC. “They need progressive tax reforms and stepping up work on tax evasion to protect public finances”. The TUAC Statement also calls for a global financial transactions tax to help pay for the cost of the crisis and to finance the Millennium Development Goals and climate change policies.

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