Next month, the annual meetings of the World Bank and IMF will take place in Tokyo from 12-14 October. The TUC has written to Chancellor George Osborne urging him to take the opportunity to ”recognise the impact that coordinated austerity measures are having on the global economy and support urgent action to change course at home and abroad.” It’s been years since the venue for this year’s annual meetings has been known as the land of the rising sun – nowadays Japan is more well-known for its infamous ‘lost decade’ of stagnation and low or no growth. But compared to the UK, the Japanese lost decade is beginning to look like a softer option.
The TUC warning comes in the light of a Global Unions statement to the international financial institutions, Putting sustainable decent work creation at the centre of growth and development strategies. It expresses
“growing concern over the generalised economic slowdown … caused by the premature shift by many governments away from measures in support of recovery and by the hasty recourse to fiscal contraction and austerity policies which undermine global demand.”
While welcoming the World Bank’s decision to devote the 2013 World Development Report – due to be published next Monday - to jobs, the Global Unions statement emphasises that the Bank should use the opportunity to promote the pivotal role that decent work can play in the development process so that the fruits of economic growth can be equitably shared by the community. It highlights the need for the two institutions to contribute to the joint work with the ILO and other UN agencies in order to establish social protection floors and calls upon the IMF to ensure that decent work creation is given the highest priority in the new Los Cabos Accountability Assessment Framework set up at the last G20 Summit. It also calls for urgent action to mitigate the impact of the most recent food price spikes, which threatens to push millions of people back below extreme poverty thresholds.