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From maiser@mail.icftu.org Wed Jul 18 08:18:49 2001
From: ICFTU Press <press@icftu.org>
To: ICFTU Online <icftu-online@mail.icftu.org>
Subject: ICFTU Online: Genoa G8 Summit
Date: Wed, 18 Jul 2001 10:43:55 +0200
Sender: maiser@mail.icftu.org

Global Unions at Genoa G8 Summit: A new vision and action needed for the global economy

ICFTU OnLine..., 130/170701/LB, 17 July 2001

Brussels July 18 (ICFTU OnLine): Trade union leaders from the G8 countries including Bill Jordan, General Secretary of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) and John Sweeney, President of TUAC* and the AFL-CIO, will join union leaders from developing countries at a July 19 meeting with the host of the Genoa Summit, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

At the meeting, organised by the Italian trade union movement, unions will demand a new vision and policy action from the leaders of the world's most powerful nations to restore economic and employment growth to the global economy. The delegation will also demand that globalisation ensure the full respect of human rights including workers' rights. To press the message home the Italian unions and the ICFTU will organise a mass public rally in Genoa on July 18.

We represent hundreds of millions of people throughout the world, who have stopped believing that trade liberalisation can bring higher living standards and more employment. While globalisation has created unprecedented wealth and resources, there is also appalling poverty around the world, said Bill Jordan.

Heads of state from the G8 countries will begin their meeting on July 20 against the intolerable backdrop of a US economy stuck on the edge of a recession, an accelerating slowdown in Europe and continuing economic stagnation in Japan, with most developing countries facing low or falling growth.

The trade union statement to the meeting shows the world labour movement united in condemning the complacency that is setting in among policy makers.

Endemic unemployment and underemployment is set to rise in the developed and developing world, where the number of people living on less than $ 1 a day has increased. Those living in extreme poverty have increased in four of the six developing and transition regions: Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Global health epidemics continue to rip apart communities as the ecological balance tips into the red zone, at the very same time that the US Administration has shredded the Kyoto protocol.

To address this, the Global Unions will call for a reorientation of policy by the G8 leaders, in order to achieve an expanded programme of comprehensive development assistance, debt write-off and reform of international financial institutions, allied with new health and education initiatives to boost development prospects.

Global Unions believe that comprehensive reforms of the international trading system are needed as part of an integrated development strategy which should be addressed swiftly by world leaders to make globalisation work for working families, based on respect for labour and wider human rights. The case for widespread adherence by corporations to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, with active enforcement by governments will also be highlighted by labour leaders.

The Genoa meeting must set out a credible agenda to address the real needs to achieve development for the whole world and to create that genuine social dimension to globalisation that we urgently need. In brief, we must work together to achieve progress globally on basic human rights at the workplace for the millions of men and women who are expecting real changes by today's leaders, concluded Bill Jordan.

* Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD.