Unions call on G20 Finance Ministers to take urgent action on jobs

As G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bankers prepare to meet in Sydney, the Labour 20 warned against complacency by policy makers that risks leading to higher not lower unemployment.

Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the ITUC, said that the time has come for Finance Ministers to recognise that their policies are not leading to the job and investment levels that the global economy needs.

“Only 13 percent of people in the ITUC Global Poll think that governments are acting in their interest – this is a dangerous situation,” Ms Burrow said.

John Evans, General Secretary of the TUAC-OECD and ITUC Chief Economist, added that the G20 Finance Ministers and Labour Ministers in Moscow last July said that they would step up efforts to ensure higher employment levels and a sustained decline in unemployment, yet their deeds do not reflect their words.

“Without a decisive policy shift, global unemployment is set to continue to rise this year – the so-called recovery doesn’t translate into jobs, let alone quality jobs,” Mr Evans said.

Ged Kearney, President of the ACTU and coordinator of the L20 Australian taskforce, said the global labour movement is calling for:

-Targeted investments in infrastructure to improve long-term productive potential and move to a low-carbon economy;

-Raising the purchasing power of low and middle-income households by reducing inequality and strengthening collective bargaining and minimum wages;

-Investing in active labour market policies to raise skill levels and reduce youth unemployment;

-Reducing informality and creating decent work in emerging and developing countries.

“The G20 is a key opportunity for Mr Abbott and Mr Hockey to outline their jobs plan and set out a positive path to economic growth and opportunity that doesn’t create more pain for Australian communities,” Ms Kearney said.

The L20 also joined calls from civil society to enforce past agreements at G20 level to clamp down on corporate tax dodging by multinationals.

Commenting on the need to follow-up the OECD Action Plan on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting, endorsed by the G20 Saint Petersburg Summit last September , Ms Burrow said that Governments must raise their ambition to detect and deter aggressive tax planning by MNEs.

“Mandatory country-by-country reporting by MNEs on their taxes is needed. Public reporting would be a step towards building citizen’s confidence in the contribution of MNEs to development and inclusive growth,” Ms Burrow said.

“The Australian Government has to show leadership and use its influence with the business community to get responsible companies on board to support the OECD initiative to create a level playing field against tax evasion,” Ms Kearney said.

The L20 will be actively involved in the monitoring of G20 activities and preparations leading up to the G20 Leaders’ Summit, holding its own Labour Summit a few days prior to the main event in Brisbane.

Download the ACTU media release.



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