The leaders of the world’s top economies failed to adequately address the three major economic crises facing the world—unemployment, climate change and development, according to leaders of unions around the globe who had called on the G-8 summit last week in Italy to take strong action to stimulate the global economy. Said John Evans, general secretary of the Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC) to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development OECD) :
There are no explicit commitments to making the necessary resources available for achieving employment and social protection goals, although the focus on the need to protect the tax base represents a welcome step in this direction. Evans represented TUAC, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the Global Union Federations at the summit.
On climate change, the G-8 countries for the first time committed to the objective of limiting the rise of the global temperature. But they failed to offer steps toward moving to a low-carbon economy in a manner that is fair to workers and communities dependent on producing carbon-based fuels.
With only five months to go before the United Nations climate change negotiations in Copenhagen, G-8 countries still have not been able to convince developing countries to reach an agreement. Read more about the role of global unions in climate change negotiations here, here, here and here.
Reaching a climate change agreement is crucial, global union leaders say, to ensure a balanced and effective outcome. Some developing nations say developed nations have all the “historic responsibility” for acting on climate change and they have none. Yet many of the developing countries, especially China, are some of the world’s top contributors to global warming.
In a speech June 23 to the OECD’s annual forum in Paris, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney said failure by the world’s leaders to take strong action on the global economy could prolong the recession worldwide.
The truth is that we are still in uncharted water, and no one knows when the bottom of this recession will be found nor how vigorous the recovery will be. The depth and duration of the recession will be determined by how urgently governments can act together to promote recovery and build the foundation for a more sustainable, more fair and more environmentally responsible basis for global growth.
The world’s workers are looking now to the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh in September to push their proposals for global economic recovery and to ensure that workers’ views are represented in any final decisions. Sweeney adds: Trade unions and the workers we represent have no confidence that this time governments and bankers alone will get it right. We are asking for a seat at the table.