3.5 Fight for sustainable trade, development and employment
At its Central Committee in 2003, the IMF adopted a policy stating that equitable and sustainable growth and development must be based on the following four pillars:
Job creation and purchasing power;
Re-regulation of the global financial market, including among other instruments a Tobin Tax;
Debt cancellation; and
- Reform of the WTO and international financial institutions.
Today more than ever, these are the indispensable components of a development agenda based on social justice, an adequate strategy of fighting against poverty, fair international rules to regulate trade and investments, and an effective multilateral system. This is what the IMF will continue to pursue together with its affiliates, other international trade union organisations, and like-minded social and political organisations.
It has to be recognised that very little has been achieved by the international trade union movement since our last Congress in terms of democratic world governance, respect of human and workers' rights, and the fight against poverty and workers' exploitation. This applies in particular to trade negotiations: governments give no consideration to workers and pay no more than lip service to employment and development concerns.
Even if the joint efforts of trade unions internationally have achieved some progress, like the integration of social standards into the principles of the World Bank's International Finance Corporation, it is difficult to see any positive concrete implementation. In practice, the International Monetary Fund continues to advocate deregulatory policies that undermine labour rights. The IMF strongly reiterates the trade unions' demand to incorporate fundamental labour rights in bilateral and multilateral trade agreements. This however is not enough without effective enforcement mechanisms that take into account the particular situation of countries with poor legal protection for the right of workers to organise and bargain collectively.
The opening of markets should be an instrument for sustainable development. For this to be possible, industrial policies that promote employment are indispensable. In fact, the fundamental link between market opening and sustainable growth is still missing. That link is jobs, good jobs for all, and a fair distribution of the wealth for the workers who create it.
In its actions on trade, the IMF working with its affiliates will focus on employment and economic development and search for fairness by taking into account possible conflict of interests between workers caused by market opening. Creating quality employment for all to generate wealth and redistributing income to reduce inequalities is an objective that is equally important for industrialised and developing countries. The IMF will coordinate its affiliates' efforts to make this the priority in the trade policies of all governments. The sustainable growth we stand for cannot happen at the expenses of others, and we will fight for balanced solutions that do not damage weaker parties. It is the role of the IMF, particularly through its Working Party on Trade, Employment and Development, to build a solidarity strategy to help harmonize the legitimate interests of workers in the North and the South. The IMF will continue promoting a transparent debate among its affiliates to address the concerns arising from trade liberalisation that may impact negatively on jobs and rights in some countries while protecting employment in others.
Governments have to include development and labour rights issues in trade negotiations. These must include explicit consideration of the expected employment repercussions of trade liberalisation. Together with its affiliates the IMF will continue to demand that governments give serious estimates of potential new jobs generated by market opening and foreign direct investment agreements. This is indispensable to avoid ungrounded or misleading evaluations of the impact of increased trade
The IMF, in close collaboration with other GUFs, the ITUC and TUAC, will work to influence international institutions to adopt a democratic system of multilaterally agreed rules that fairly take into account the different needs and conditions of countries, and of different groups within countries. The lack of a real development agenda has made any progress in the Doha Round negotiations impossible, while bilateral Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) increasingly promote the interests of corporations and their allies at the expense of workers and citizens. Since the last IMF Congress there has been successful resistance often led by trade unions to some of the proposed agreements. These struggles, are important examples of unity and solidarity between workers in different regions on which the IMF can build future actions.
Sustainable development should be a key objective in the strategies of developing countries for attracting foreign investments. It should also be an indicator of success, along with the creation of quality employment and of a fair system of public social protection. The IMF will coordinate joint action and promote solidarity between its affiliates in developing and industrialised countries against the establishment of special economic zones where the incentives granted to TNCs cause the suppression of fundamental human and worker rights and make workers' living and employment conditions extremely precarious.
The IMF will work in close collaboration with other GUFs, TUAC and ITUC, and other like-minded social movements to ensure that:
- Global financial markets are regulated, including as an initial step better disclosure of transactions, strengthened monitoring schemes and regulation of leveraging;
- Sustainable development be brought into trade and investment deals, access to markets be fair and balanced, and transparent monitoring mechanisms of already signed agreements be put in place;
- Impact and sustainability assessments along the social and economic development dimension of possible trade agreements be carried out prior to the conclusion of negotiations;
- Employment repercussions of trade liberalisation be considered by governments in the negotiations of multilateral and bilateral trade agreements and assessed with full involvement of trade unions; and
- Universal respect of fundamental workers' and trade union rights as set out in the ILO 1998 Declaration be included in all bilateral and multilateral agreements on trade and investments along with effective enforcement mechanisms.
The IMF and its affiliates will work together to:
- Unite metalworkers at the regional and international level in the search for fair solutions to conflicts of interests in trade liberalisation that would damage weaker parties;
- Build solidarity among affiliates against the possible negative effects of market opening on employment in developing as well as industrialised countries;
- Challenge government resistance to transparently assess, together with social partners, the potential employment impact of trade deals; and
- Promote information and awareness raising campaigns among workers and citizens on the economic advantages that companies, as well as the countries where they operate, can get from the respect of fundamental workers' rights everywhere.
The IMF will assist its affiliates in:
- Monitoring the impact of FTAs on employment and working conditions in metal working industries;
- Mobilising their memberships, in cooperation with their respective national centres, and like-minded political parties and social movements, against proposed FTAs that would undermine development, workers rights, good jobs and public services for working families; and
- Fighting against precarious employment conditions caused by foreign investments.