Poll: Only one in ten in G20 countries believe austerity will work

International unions warned of a dangerous credibility gap between G20 Leaders’ past statements on jobs and many G20 governments’ actions that are pushing economies back into recession and destroying jobs.

The warning came as global unemployment climbs towards 210 million with 75 million young people unemployed. The OECD and ILO estimate 21 million jobs need to be created each year to return to pre-crisis employment rates by 2015.

Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the ITUC, said a global opinion poll commissioned by the ITUC showed only 13 % of people believe they have real influence on governments’ economic decisions, as the impact of G20 austerity policies that started in Toronto in 2010 take hold of family incomes and job security.

In a statement to G20 leaders, international unions said austerity measures in Europe and the premature withdrawal of government support for growth have pushed the Eurozone back into recession.
“Two thirds of people polled favoured investing in jobs and growth and only 10% austerity. While we have seen glimmers of a debate emerging in Europe in the last few weeks, it is just that. There is no plan, no confidence that there will be investment in job-centred growth,” said Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary.

The global poll of 13 countries including 10 G20 economies showed 71% of people don’t feel they have job security, and only 11% have seen their incomes go up more than the cost of living.

“People want secure incomes and decent jobs. They want retirement incomes that they can depend on. The basis of economic stability is people having the confidence to spend; if people don’t have decent secure jobs, with an income, we won’t be able to work our way out of the financial crisis,” said John Evans, General Secretary of TUAC.

“The self-interest of those groups who are gaining from the current policies is on show. We need to bring the financial sector under control. Four years into this crisis and the bond markets are still dominating the economic policies, driven by the demands of the troika in Europe. Democratic governments not financial markets should set the growth agenda,” said Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary.

“If we are to see our democracies as secure and have our economies come back to health, we need to restore the optimism and the democratic contract that is broken in Europe and right around the world. G20 leaders must listen to their citizens. Four years ago, at the onset of the crisis, the G20 demonstrated its effectiveness, but it has increasingly become out of touch with people,” said Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, ITUC.

Trade union leaders under the auspices of the Labour 20 are calling for:
- A “Los Cabos Growth and Jobs Plan”
- Regulation of the financial system and the introduction of a financial transactions tax
- A G20 action plan and fund to support the implementation of Social Protection floors
- Formalising the L20 and B20 to increase the governance and accountability of the G20, and a joint meeting of the G20 Finance and Labour Ministers
- Concrete action to implement the G20 Task Force recommendations on youth unemployment, with a mandate for renewed work by the Task Force that should report back to a G20 Labour Ministers’ Meeting under the Russian G20 Presidency.

Read the L20 statement to the G20 Summit at www.ituc-csi.org and www.tuac.org

The ITUC Global Poll represents the opinions of more than 1.4 billion people, or 20 percent of the current world population. TNS Opinion carried out the fieldwork from 10 April - 6 May 2012 in 13 countries: Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, UK and the USA.

Quota samples were used to reflect national proportions in terms of age, gender and region. In each country, approximately 1,000 respondents were interviewed, with a total of 13,087 respondents.