FACTI panel: ITUC calls for taxation reform to achieve the 2030 Agenda

Unions have contributed to the regional FACTI panels entitled “Towards an Ecosystem of Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity”. These panels are organised in the frame of the High-level Regional Consultations and co-hosted by the High-Level Panel on International Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity for Achieving the 2030 Agenda (FACTI) and the UN regional commissions.

The General Secretary of CTA-A (Argentina), Ricardo Peidro, participated on behalf of the ITUC at the Latin America and the Caribbean FACTI panel. You can watch his intervention and read the press release- issued by CTA-A (both in Spanish).

In Asia-Pacific, the ITUC was represented by Richard Ian Wagstaff - President of New Zealand Council of Trade Unions. You can watch his intervention or read a transcript of it below.

Intervention of Richard Ian Wagstaff:

For too long and in too many countries – including New Zealand – labour has borne the brunt of taxation.

And we absolutely have no problem with paying our taxes. Taxes are the price of a civilised society. Taxes are the way everyone receives healthcare, education, clean water and most recently in New Zealand – a response to Covid that has kept many of us alive and our economies functioning.

But we shouldn’t have to do it alone. The union movement calls for capital and business and high wealth individuals to pay its fair share too. It also reaps the benefits of public services – roads, justice system, etc – as much as workers do.

The ITUC wants to see:

  • A 25% corporate tax rate - although in New Zealand we want to keep our 28% one! But based on the global profits of the company and apportioned to where it actually does its business. Not just where the structuring puts the income.
  • A wealth tax. So few people have wealth in our world and all too often their income is not taxed as it is earned. Wealth provides huge safety value and support – so let’s tax that not just the income from people’s labour.
  • A digital tax. The current rules for taxing tech companies just aren’t working. It is time to try a different angle to make sure they pay their fair share.
  • All countries to implement a financial transactions tax to counter speculative flows and provide another source of revenue for countries wanting to rebuild their economies.
  • Greater transparency of companies’ financial dealings and greater transparency and accountability of Government in how they conduct their tax investigations and collection.
  • Tripartite structures to oversee the management of government funds.
  • Protection of whistleblowers who are essential in exposing tax evasion and corruption and are often at risk of losing their jobs, and in some countries their freedoms and even their lives.

And finally, while the ITUC is supportive of the work being undertaken by the OECD with their Base Erosion and Profit Shifting - the ITUC also would like the UN to take an effective lead to ensure governance on taxation matters at a global level based on a reinvigorated commitment to multilateralism.

Tax - and not austerity- is the way forward to fund the recovery and rebuild the social contract and ensure resilience against future global shock.

Taxing the pandemic profiteers, breaking up the global monopolies of the big tech companies is vital to shared prosperity without which the world cannot build peace and security.