International poll by L20 reveals 80% of voters think governments have failed to tackle unemployment

People feel abandoned by their governments as they fail to tackle unemployment and prioritise business interests over worker interests, according to new public opinion polling from the Labour 20 released ahead of the first joint G20 Labour and Finance ministers meeting in Moscow.

Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), said rising unemployment, critical levels of youth unemployment and the deficit of decent work are key problems G20 Labour and Finance ministers need to address.
Trade Union leaders from G20 countries working as the Labour 20 (L20) are meeting in Moscow for the L20 Summit on Wednesday 17th July 2013.

The L20 is calling on the G20 Labour and Finance Ministers to put in place a jobs plan as worldwide unemployment is set to rise above 200 million. Globally almost 75 million young people under 25 are jobless said John Evans, TUAC General Secretary.
The results of the ITUC Global Poll 2013, conducted in April and May in Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, Spain, South Africa, the UK and the USA by global market research company TNS, are a warning to G20 Labour and Finance Ministers of the need for immediate action, said Ms Burrow.

The poll showed:

- 80 percent of voters say their government has failed to effectively tackle unemployment in their country;
- Only 13 percent of voters believe their government is focused on the interests of working families.
“Unemployment and inequality is poisoning our economies and society. Income-centred growth, promoting aggregate demand is the only solution.
“One trillion euro investment into infrastructure – less than half of the public money handed to the banks, according to estimates across Europe and the U.S – will create decent jobs. It is workers in work that will restore growth, confidence and reduce inequality,” said Ms Burrow.

“A jobs plan, with decent work and turning words into action, would be a major step forward for G20 Labour Ministers to deliver on their promises. Jobs, collective bargaining, a minimum wage on which people can live, social protection and essential services are the core elements of reducing inequality and unemployment.

“G20 Labour and Finance minister have the opportunity under the Russian Presidency to restore the trust and confidence of working people by closing the gap between statements from G20 Labour Ministers and the policies of G20 Finance Ministers,” said Mikhail Shmakov , President of Federation of Russian Independent Trade Unions of Russia (FNPR).

The poll of the general public also showed strong support for laws that protect rights for workers, Ms Burrow said.

- 64 percent think current laws do not protect workers’ job security.
- 68 percent of people strongly support a minimum wage.
- 91 percent of people support the right to join a union.

“The ill-timed move from stimulus to austerity has brought with it an attack on labour market institutions. Austerity has failed and prompted stagnating global growth, critical levels of unemployment and increasing social unrest which we have seen from Turkey to Bulgaria and Brazil,” said Ms Burrow.

L20 leaders are also calling for climate action, progressive taxation measures, a cessation of the attacks on collective bargaining and a universal social protection floor.
The L20 will take part in a social dialogue with G20 Labour Ministers on Thursday 18th July where the findings of the poll will be presented to G20 Labour Ministers.

Read the L20 Trade union statement to the G20 Finance and Labour Ministers Joint meeting

Read the ITUC Global poll 2013 prepared for the G20 Labour and Finance Ministers Meeting, Moscow July 2013

For more information please contact:
Gemma Swart L20 Media Lead (English) +32 479 06 41 63 gemma.swart@ituc-csi.org
Anna Byhovskaya (English, Russian, French, German) Byhovskaya@tuac.org

Photo: Tax credit