Jobs on the agenda with international financial institutions
Leaders of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund tell union leaders that "Jobs are central to recovery" during a series of meetings in Washington D.C.
GLOBAL: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and World Bank President, Robert Zoellick agreed on the importance of employment, social protection, working with trade unions and broadening the distribution of economic growth in meetings with high-level trade union delegation in Washington D.C. from January 18 to 20, 2011.
"Income-led growth is the key to securing recovery and ending the kinds of social deprivation and misery we're seeing in countries like Tunisia," said Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). "We have to stop the financial elites regaining control and sowing the seeds of an imminent new crisis at a time when workers are still suffering the unemployment caused by the last one."
In response, IMF Managing Director Strauss-Kahn agreed that tackling the jobs crisis, in particular the tragedy of long-term unemployment with all its social consequences, was essential and said jobs would be a central priority for IMF actions in 2011. He reiterated the IMF's commitment to working with the ILO to establish a universal social protection floor.
World Bank President Robert Zoellick committed the Bank to consult trade unions effectively at national level, as well as sectorally, and by improving their protocols of cooperation at global level. He laid great stress on the need to address the food price crisis, through Bank actions. Zoellick further committed the Bank to support all the ILO core labour standards and to incorporate workers' protections, such as maternity protection, into ongoing World Bank work on the labour market.
International Metalworkers' Federation General Secretary, Jyrki Raina urged the World Bank to get rid of the Employing Workers Indicator in its annual Doing Business report, which gives 183 countries scores for regulation areas and ranks them in order. Those countries that offer least protection for workers get the best marks. The report has been used in different parts of the world to weaken labour legislation and to reduce social protection.
The indicator has been suspended in this year's report while a revision process takes place. Unions are promoting a Worker Protection Indicator, which would cover among other things matters such as how a country is adhering to core labour standards.
"Doing Business should not promote precarious work, long working hours, low minimum wages which are not sufficient for living, and insufficient protection of workers who lose their jobs. Doing Business should instead promote decent work, the creation of good quality jobs, and sufficient social protection. That would be in line with the World Bank's slogan "Working for a world free of poverty"," said Raina.
To read the Statement of trade union priorities for the French Presidency of the G8 and G20 in 2011, see:
http://www.ituc-csi.org/IMG/pdf/0811t_gf_G20_es-2.pdfJan 21, 2011 – Anita Gardner