IMF/World Bank spring meetings: Bold action for sustainable recovery needed

photo: IMF/World Bank

In a statement to the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, the ITUC and its Global Unions partners are calling for the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) to overhaul the multilateral system and take bold action to ensure a new social contract for a sustainable recovery.

In these turbulent times these institutions must help restore credibility by strengthening democratic accountability and promoting broadly shared prosperity.

Pointing to growing attacks on fundamental workers’ rights, including the right to strike, the statement notes that “while workers’ wages and countries’ reserves are worth less and less, corporate price gouging and financial manipulation have padded profits at the expense of consumers and supply chains.”

Key demands by the Global Unions include:

  • Sustainable debt resolution to ward off the growing risk of a systemic sovereign debt crisis and rejection of the failed policies of privatisation and austerity.
  • Support for decent work and social protection, with full employment and fundamental rights, including freedom of association, collective bargaining and safe and healthy work.
  • Democratic accountability of investments to tackle the erosion of quality jobs and services caused by privatisation, deregulation and financialisation.
  • Just transition – the World Bank and the IMF “must work closely with trade unions to ensure that the energy transition is an opportunity to offer decent work and affordable, sustainable energy to all.”
  • Reversing the trends of underinvestment, financial speculation and corporate concentration of power and wealth, to enable an inclusive economic future and the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The statement concludes with a series of specific policy demands for the IFIs. These include a call for them to “work with governments and trade unions to support unprecedented public investment that meets social needs, boosts job creation and builds toward a sustainable and equitable future”, while the IMF is called on to support progressive taxation and the World Bank’s ‘Business Enabling Environment’ report must promote, rather than undermine, labour standards.