From the TUC

IMF, World Bank and G20: what unions want is job-creating growth

19 Sep 2011, by in International

The global union family has published its submission to the Autumn meetings of the international financial institutions (IMF and World Bank) and the G20 Finance Ministers meetings in Washington DC this coming weekend, and job-creating growth is top of our agenda. Although there are positive signs in some countries, the world economy as a whole is stagnant – it hasn’t recovered from the global economic crisis of recent years, and growth is either anaemic or rocky across much of the developed and developing countries.

Austerity is the name for the current right-wing approach: cutting public services, pensions and benefits to reduce public sector deficits which were incurred fighting (successfully) to prevent banks collapsing and to stave off depression; and holding down wages for ordinary workers while letting bonuses and profits rip.

Our approach combines slower fiscal consolidation, investing in job creation and skills, promoting the green economy, tax increases targeted on the rich rather than the poor, and planned debt restructuring for countries like Greece and Portugal. And we believe that – in line with ILO core labour standards – unions should be assisted to use collective bargaining to restore the value of wages and pensions.

The global unions’ statement says that G20 Governments and the IFIs have failed to deliver on their promises to attack joblessness and instead have turned their attention to fiscal consolidation, as money markets increasingly dictate policy.

ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said austerity measures threaten to create several million more job losses, making it even more unlikely that deficit targets will be reached.

“We need programmes to stimulate employment through infrastructure and climate related investments and public services. The IFIs have a responsibility to protect public services vital to societies’ development, such as education and health care, and support the introduction of a social protection floor in all countries. Instead of cutbacks, the IMF should lead a co-ordinated effort to establish a financial transactions tax to pay for job recovery programmes and meet development and climate-finance commitments.”