Education International
Education International

International financial summit backs unions’ priorities

published 27 September 2011 updated 24 October 2011

The final communiqué of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Financial Committee has taken heed of warnings from Global Unions to acknowledge that ‘the global economy has entered a dangerous phase’ and support calls for ‘bold action from members and the IMF’.

The joint World Bank-IMF Development Committee also devoted more attention to the question of jobs than usual, underlining concerns about soaring unemployment and high joblessness, particularly among young people, which was among the catalysts for the ‘Arab Spring’.

The IMF declarations mirror the Global Union’s statement which asserted that ‘International Financial Institutions and G20 governments should put job creation at their top of their agenda and quickly implement programmes to stimulate employment through infrastructure and climate-related investments and public services’.

However, EI is disappointed that the IMF communiqué includes no new plan of action or precise recommendation to attain its stated objective of prioritising ‘inclusive jobs and creating work’.

EI President, Susan Hopgood, noted: “We welcome the focus of these meeting but now we are urging governments to live up their promises in terms of guaranteeing high employment levels and decent work. We encourage all of our affiliates to keep exerting pressure on their governments and representatives at the IMF and World Bank to see concrete investment in job creation, primarily in education.”

The IMF has limited itself to urging euro-area countries to implement their leaders’ decision of 21 July to increase the flexibility of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), a decision which several countries have yet to ratify. It did not comment on increasing the size of the EFSF or containing the consequences of a possible debt default by Greece. The new IMF chief, Christine Lagarde, also refused to consider a contingency plan in case of a Greek default, alleging it would only propagate rumours.

Finance Ministers did announce that the World Bank's next World Development Report, to be released in 2012, would be devoted to employment and encouraged ‘the cooperation of the World Bank Group with member governments and other partners, such as the G20, the International Labour Organisation and the IMF, to pursue a comprehensive approach to job creation’.

To read the full communiqué of the IMF's International Monetary and Financial Committee please click here

The IMF-World Bank's Development Committee communiqué is available here