Education International
Education International

Global Unions urge the IMF and World Bank to prioritise employment

published 12 September 2011 updated 28 September 2011

EI has endorsed the Global Unions statement for the 2011 annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, to be held in Washington, USA, from 25-26 September.

In the declaration, the Global Unions – of which EI is a member – note “with concern the new round of major global financial upheaval just three years after the near meltdown of September 2008.”

The statement adds that, “in 2009, G20 governments and the international financial institutions (IFIs) promised to act to prevent a recurrence of financial crisis and to put a priority on tackling joblessness. These aims, which were welcomed by trade unions, have been replaced with an apparently single-minded focus on fiscal consolidation. Austerity policies, applied with the intention of reducing deficits, have contributed to the renewed economic downturn and threaten to create several millions more job losses, making it even more unlikely that deficit targets will be reached.”

The global trade union movement goes on to reassert its demand that “IFIs and G20 governments should put job creation at their top of their agenda and quickly implement programmes to stimulate employment through infrastructure and climate-related investments and public services.”

“This priority, unions believe, is linked to the IFIs’ responsibility to protect quality public services vital to societies’ development, such as education and health care, and support the introduction of a social protection floor in all countries.”

The Global Unions remind the IFIs of the importance of a close collaboration with international organisations representing workers: “We urge the IMF to refrain from promoting labour market deregulation measures, which is frequently done on the basis of error-fraught analyses, and instead work in cooperation with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to carry out the joint IMF-ILO employment-intensive growth initiative launched in September 2010.”

Global Union leaders appeal to the IMF to “lead a coordinated effort to establish financial transaction taxes (FTTs) in as many countries as possible for financing job-intensive recovery programmes and meeting development and climate-finance commitments.”

Reflecting on relationship between education and the FTT, EI President, Susan Hopgood, added: “Our members have reiterated our strong belief that education must not be sacrificed on the altar of the economic crisis. Investment in quality education and teacher training is the best remedy to the economic downturn. EI particularly welcomes the firm will shown by France and Germany at their August Summit to implement a FTT.”

EI is calling on all its affiliates to lobby their Ministers of Finance, as well as their country representatives at the IMF and World Bank, to endorse proposals and push for the creation of an FTT.

A circular, as well as a model letter to Ministers of Finance and Executive Directors of the IMF and World Bank can be downloaded.