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Unions positive about G20 following meeting with British PM Brown
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08:37, April 01, 2009

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Union leaders said here on Tuesday that they are positive about the upcoming G20 summit.

Speaking after a meeting between Prime Minister Gordon Brown and union leaders from the G20 nations, Trade Union Congress (TUC) General Secretary Brendan Barber said: "This was a positive meeting which emphasized the importance of not only agreeing new regulatory structures for the financial system and of cracking down on tax havens, but also on the need for active measures putting employment right at the heart of the response to the global crisis.

"The prime minister is clearly committed to real action coming out of the summit and he is right to be ambitious about what can be achieved," he added.

During the meeting, Brown has emphasized that the importance of government actions will be magnified the more they are coordinated across the globe.

Trade union leaders from around the world are converging on London this week to press their case at the G20 Summit on the global economic crisis.

Plans are already made for meeting with Australian Prime Minster Kevin Rudd on Wednesday following discussions with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck on Monday.

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) is urging the G20 to take strong and concerted action to turn the global economy around and avoid future crises, pushing a package of detailed measures spelt out in their London Declaration drawn up by the ITUC and the Trade Union Advisory Committee of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The package calls for action in five areas, including coordinated international recovery and sustainable growth plan to create jobs, ensure public investment and tackle world poverty; help for insolvent banks and new financial regulations; combating the risk of wage deflation and reverse decades of increasing inequality; far-reaching action on climate change; and a new system of global economic governance.

They wish the new system will involve reform of the global financial and economic institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Organization for OECD and World Trade Organization, and press for a central role for the International Labor Organization (ILO).

During the London summit, union leaders also plan to meet with IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn and WTO Director General Pascal Lamy.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: "The world's unions are united. We are all calling for a bigger fiscal stimulus through a green new deal, a tough new regulatory system to stop finance threatening global stability ever again and action against inequality both within and between countries."

ITUC General Secretary Guy Ryder said: "We are covering every possible base in alerting world leaders to the depth of anger and frustration felt by working people everywhere at the complete failure of unregulated capitalism."

"People are paying for this disastrous failure of governance with their jobs and livelihood, and nothing less than a complete overhaul of the system can meet the urgent needs of this moment."

However, he was deeply worried that G20 governments are not yet ready to show the necessary leadership. "Every moment they delay taking the far-reaching decisions needed means more jobs lost and more people falling into poverty."

Tens of thousands of demonstrators braved cold and wet weather on the streets of London over the weekend in a broad civil society demonstration for jobs, justice and climate emergency. Some 70 national and international union leaders are expected attend the London meetings this week.


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