G20 fails to tackle exclusion, inequality and unemployment

published 23 February 2011 updated 23 February 2011

EI has expressed its dismay at the failure of G20 finance ministers to focus on the global employment crisis at their meeting this week.

While there has been some progress in areas of financial regulation, notably around financial groups which are 'too big to fail', too much authority remains with a multitude of national regulatory bodies, which increases the risk of major, and potentially damaging, differences emerging between countries.

The conclusions adopted by the G20 finance ministers' meeting include a series of indicators for economic recovery, but employment has been left off the list.

The text includes scant references to jobs and provides no indication of a constructive approach to tackling unemployment, with several G20 members focusing almost exclusively on cutting government expenditure as their main policy approach.

International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) General Secretary, Sharan Burrow, said: “The G20 leaders' meeting later this year faces a huge challenge on global employment. Unfortunately, their finance ministers have let them down badly, and a great deal of work now needs to be done to make up for this failure.”

While the meeting did not specifically endorse a Financial Transactions Tax, which is supported by EI, as called for by the current G20 host, France's President Nicolas Sarkozy, references to “systemic levies” were an encouraging step in the right direction.

The OECD's Trade Union Advisory Committee General Secretary, John Evans, said: “Ministers began some much-needed steps on regulating banks and finance, but there is no sign of the determination required to rein in the obscene and destructive bonus culture which helped drive the world into crisis.”

EI General Secretary, Fred van Leeuwen, pledged: “At a time when teacher numbers, their pay and conditions, are all under attack, and millions of children continue to be deprived access to quality education, teacher unionists will advocate for world leaders to tackle the employment crisis at the next G20 Summit. They must help create decent jobs, especially in education, because UNESCO estimates 18 million more teachers are needed worldwide."