From the TUC

Global unions back the Robin Hood Tax: a popular coalition is formed

10 Feb 2010, by in Economics, International

In the UK we call it the Robin Hood Tax. In Germany, it’s the Tax Against Poverty. And in the US it’s the financial speculation tax. But in all those countries – and many more – popular campaigns are building support for a financial transactions tax to raise money for public services, combating poverty and tackling climate change. Existing groups like Americans for Financial Reform and Europeans for Financial Reform (the latter set up by the ETUC and the Party of European Socialists) are also backing these campaigns.

Unions are involved in those campaigns, and later today the DGB President Michael Sommer and TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber will be writing to Chancellor Merkel and Gordon Brown urging support for a Europe-wide transactions tax. In the USA, the AFL-CIO – a leading part of Americans for Financial Reform – have been lobbying Obama insiders and congressional leaders to support the tax domestically or globally. At international level, the ITUC has asked its members to get their governments lobbying the IMF to treat the proposal seriously when they report to G20 Finance Ministers in April, and the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD will be releasing a major piece of work on the issue in March at their Economic Policy Committee.

Global union federations like UNI – which represents staff in the private sector, including, crucially, the banks themselves – have also signed up to the campaign. In the UK, Unite (with members in big banks and insurance companies) and the Nationwide Group Staff Union were early supporters of the Robin Hood Tax campaign.

But across the world, unions are making alliances – with green groups and development charities, with bishops and bankers, with health, education and domestic poverty groups. In the UK, the RSPB and the YWCA are two early members of the campaign – which looks like it will be the broadest ever mobilisation of civil society – bigger than Make Poverty History in 2005 and bigger even than the 160-member Put People First platform which was the first popular response to the global crisis.

Put People First, although it produced a number of well-argued policies designed to avoid a return to business as usual, was the protest – a demo and rally in Hyde Park ahead of the G20 London leaders’ summit. The Robin Hood Tax is the solution.

One Response to Global unions back the Robin Hood Tax: a popular coalition is formed

  1. Norman Scholes
    Mar 9th 2010, 1:24 am

    All proposals for any new methods of taxation on anything should be viewed with the utmost caution. This RH tax is fronted by in phrases like ‘climate change’ and ‘world poverty’ to disguise its nature which is just another tax. It is being proposed by groups whose only real financial background is taking rather than making money. For a recent example of world co-operation see the climate change conference in Copenhagen which broke up in total dissarray after spending billions and contributing greatly to carbon footprints.
    The main beneficiarys of this proposed tax would be those whose job it is to collect it. to believe that it will benefit the poor and climate change is total naiveity.
    Still, many billions will be spent of public money before it is found to be a complete waste of time.
    This should be a complete non starter