Unions call on International Financial Institutions (IFIs) to support global wage rise

On the eve of the annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank (Washington, 13-15 October 2017), the ITUC and with UNI Global Union and its global unions partners are calling on the international financial institutions (IFIs) to take action on wages. They are asking the IFIs to help boost the incomes of working people around the world by supporting a strengthening of weakened collective bargaining rights and an expansion of universal social protection.

UNI Global Union General Secretary Philip Jennings said, “We are on record as saying the world needs a pay rise. We live in a world where eight men own as much as half the population on our planet, and where the Big Six companies are  steering us to an unknown destination in the future world of work. Such inequality is unsustainable, the capitalist system is broken and these  levels of inequality must be addressed. UNI and our partners are calling on the IMF and World Bank to finally  make a stand on fairer wages.”

ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said, “A rise of wages will do much to reverse the fall in labour’s income share experienced in most countries, stop the trend of increasing inequality and provide the increase in global demand needed to sustain economic recovery.” She called attention to the IMF Chief Economist’s assessment on 10 October that the global recovery is incomplete due to the drag on the global economy caused by several years of wage stagnation.

Burrow noted that even though most countries are expected to experience positive economic growth this year, many countries have far from acceptable levels of employment and labour income. In particular, thirty-four emerging and developing economies will, according to IMF projections, be in a situation of negative per capita income growth in 2017.

The ITUC General Secretary called on the IMF to end its support for labour market deregulation, an important contributor to income inequality, and to follow the example of most other international institutions, including the ILO and the World Bank, that have endorsed universal social protection.

Burrow urged both institutions to increase their efforts to achieve gender equality and a just transition to a sustainable, low-carbon economy. She also called on the World Bank to end its misplaced emphasis of public private partnerships, instead of quality public services, because of PPPs’ detrimental impacts on public finances, access to services and working conditions.

Burrow also called on the World Bank to proceed with the implementation of its new labour safeguard, adopted fourteen months ago, in such a manner that all activities financed by the Bank comply with recognised international workers’ rights.

The ITUC and its Global Unions partners submitted this statement to the heads and executive directors of the IMF and World Bank:  https://www.ituc-csi.org/ifi-policies-for-equitable-and