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Jobs Central to Recovery, Say Leaders Of International Financial

(Washington D.C., 20 January 2011): The IMF Managing Director, Dominique
Strauss-Kahn and World Bank President, Robert Zoellick agreed on the
importance of employment, social protection, working with trade unions and
broadening the distribution of economic growth in meetings with a 90-strong
high-level trade union delegation in Washington D.C. this week.

“Income-led growth is the key to securing recovery and ending the kinds of
social deprivation and misery we’re seeing in countries like Tunisia”, said
ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow. “We have to stop the financial elites
regaining control and sowing the seeds of an imminent new crisis at a time
when workers are still suffering the unemployment caused by the last one.”

In response, IMF Managing Director Strauss-Kahn agreed that tackling the
jobs crisis, in particular the tragedy of long-term unemployment with all
its social consequences, was essential and said jobs would be a central
priority for IMF actions in 2011. He expressed determination to mitigate
the social impact in crisis-hit countries such as Romania, Greece, Pakistan,
Latvia and Jamaica and reiterated the IMF’s commitment to working with the
ILO to establish a universal social protection floor. Strauss-Kahn also
condemned the unacceptable resumption of financial speculation by banks and
bankers, resulting from the G20’s failure to carry through the financial
regulation reforms they had begun in 2009, and called for a financial
activities tax to change the culture of banking speculation.

“We differ with the IMF on the form of the tax, as we consider a financial
transactions tax would better deliver the resources for development, climate
action and quality public services the world desperately needs, but we
strongly agree that action to regulate the financial sector and stop the
speculators’ attacks on democratically elected governments must be taken at
once,” stated Burrow.

World Bank President Robert Zoellick committed the Bank to consult trade
unions effectively at national level, in countries such as Pakistan, Nepal
and the Dominican Republic as well as sectorally and by improving their
protocols of cooperation at global level. He laid great stress on the need
to address the food price crisis, through Bank actions to enable nutrition
for the most vulnerable and investments in seeds and fertilizers as well as
by improving social safety nets. Zoellick further committed the Bank to
support all the ILO core labour standards and to incorporate workers’
protections, such as maternity protection, into ongoing World Bank work on
the labour market.

Burrow responded, “We welcome Mr. Zoellick’s commitments to workers’ rights
and tackling growth inequalities, and call on him to ensure full World Bank
support for the ILO’s campaign for a universal social protection floor.”

The trade union delegation went on to meet the Executive Directors of the
IMF and World Bank, the government representatives whose regular Washington
meetings decide the loans of the two institutions, and impressed upon them
the urgency of stepping up the institutions’ policies to tackle the global
jobs crisis.

The meeting also discussed the structural policy recommendations for labour
market reforms being promoted by the IFIs as well as the OECD.
“Recommendations that call for weakening employment protection and wage
setting machinery are totally flawed”, said John Evans, General Secretary of
TUAC-OECD. “Countries that have had better employment performance during
the crisis are those that have strong systems of social dialogue and labour
market institutions. These need to be strengthened not weakened.”

Other sessions of the three-day series of meetings dealt with social
protection, IMF actions on financial regulation, the World Bank’s
requirements for protection of labour standards in loan programmes and the
Bank’s “Doing Business” publication.

To read the Statement of trade union priorities for the French Presidency of
the G8 and G20 in 2011, see:

The ITUC represents 176 million workers in 151 countries and territories and
has 301 national affiliates. http://www.ituc-csi.org and

For more information, please contact the ITUC Press Department on: +32 2 224
0204 or +32 476 621 018.

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