Global unions tell G20: “Austerity and growth are not compatible”
With the 2012 Los Cabos G20 summit taking place in three week’s time, it’s worrying to look back at the 2009 London G20 summit and see how little has been achieved. We were in the middle of the global financial crisis then, and the G20 did agree the steps necessary to prevent a global crisis turning into a depression, with co-ordinated government action to boost growth. But unfulfilled commitments to reform the financial sector leave the global economy vulnerable to further crises, and the precipitate shift to austerity has left developed economies in or near to recession, and emerging economies have seen their rapid return to double digit growth falter and fall.
Now economists are warning that the world needs 21 million new jobs every year just to return to pre-crisis unemployment levels (not an outrageous demand, or that much of an achievement.) So global unions are now demanding that the G20 leaders summit put rhetoric on growth into reality, and map out a return to growth that protects the environment, restores a future for young people, and rebalances the system so that finance serves the real economy rather than vice versa.
The L20 statement which unions are submitting to Governments ahead of the Los Cabos summit in Mexico’s Baja region sets out what we’d like to see them agree. As well as lobbying our own governments ove the next two weeks, union leaders from around the G20, including the TUC’s General Secretary Brendan Barber, will spend the final few days ahead of the summit in Los Cabos itself, meeting leaders like David Cameron, Barack Obama and Francois Hollande, as well as the leaders of the global institutions who advise e G20 and are often asked to follow up its decisions.
Some of our demands are procedural: like maintaining the G20 employment task force which has already come up with a menu of options G20 governments can choose from to tackle youth unemployment. Other demands are for concrete action: a financial transactions tax, or a social protection floor to protect those hit hardest by the crisis.
But overall, the statement sets out a radical, progressive agenda for changing the direction of the global economy towards promoting decent work rather than cutting wages and public services.