International unions unite to put pressure on G20
This is a truly global crisis and the first recession to flow from a collapse in the financial system since the 1930s. Individual states can make a difference, but in a global crisis we need a global response.
But there are worrying signs that the G20 leaders will not rise to the occasion. While there does seem to be a consensus to do something about tax havens, reports suggest that European leaders are resistant to a fiscal stimulus while the USA is opposed to more global regulation.
We need both – as today’s statement published by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) makes clear. Without a big co-ordinated fiscal stimulus this could be a deep and dangerous recession that may easily turn into a prolonged slump.
But the Europeans who want to ensure that we never again face meltdown of the world’s financial system and say we need a tough global system of regulation are also right.
Governments should listen to their unions who all want to see a fiscal stimulus, action on tax havens and effective regulation, whichever side of the Atlantic or Pacific they come from. And unions are clear that we need not just a short-term stimulus, but action to make sure the world emerges as a fairer and greener place from the recession.
It is not too late to tell world leaders that the stakes for this summit are incredibly high. This gives the Put People First march for jobs, justice and climate next Saturday (28 March) a new importance as it gives ordinary people who are the victims of this recession the chance to send a clear message to the summit that we need fundamental changes both in the UK and throughout the world.
The international union statement is being handed to their governments by unions across the G20 nations today including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Turkey and the USA.
Its five key points are that the G20 must:
- Implement a co-ordinated international recovery and sustainable growth plan with maximum impact on job creation focussing on public investment, active labour market policies, protecting the most vulnerable through extended social safety nets, and ‘green economy’ investments that can shift the world economy onto a low-carbon growth path.
- Give developing and emerging economies the resources and policy space to undertake counter-cyclical policies.
- Nationalise insolvent banks immediately so as to restore confidence and lending in the financial system and beyond this establish the new rules and mechanisms to control global finance with full stakeholder engagement.
- Combat the risk of wage deflation and reverse the growth of income inequality by extending the coverage of collective bargaining and strengthening wage setting institutions so as to establish a decent floor in labour markets.
- Prepare the ground for a far-reaching and ambitious international agreement on climate change at COP15 in Copenhagen this December.