Remarks by John Sweeney

President of TUAC and President of the AFL-CIO

G-8 Labor Leaders’ Presentation to the Prime Minister of Japan

(Tokyo, July 5, 2000)

 Thank you Prime Minister Mori. 

 On behalf of the Trade Unions from the G-8 countries, I am deeply honored to present our views to you, the Host of the Okinawa Economic Summit. It is indicative of the good relationship between you and our trade union hosts, RENGO, that you have received us so graciously today.

 There is great hope, from Prime Ministers to working men and women around the world, that faster growth and higher living standards are now possible. The task facing you and your colleagues is to turn that hope into reality, because for the vast majority of the world’s population, today’s reality is continued poverty and growing social division. 

 This is not a time for celebration, but a time to take advantage of the opportunity presented by recovery. Political will and resources must be devoted to addressing the problems of those who have not benefitted from the global economy. Our goal must be development that is democratic and equitable, as well as socially and environmentally sustainable.

 Industrial nations, starting with my own, must sharply increase development aid for alleviation of poverty and for advances in health, education and the environment. We will continue to lobby for increased commitments from the US Congress.

 We urge you and your colleagues to take special note of these responsibilities.

 Impoverished countries must be freed of crippling foreign debts that can never be repaid. We must begin by fully implementing the commitments made last year at the G-8 meetings in Cologne, and then build upon them to do more for the poorest countries and extending eligibility to others.

 In the US, our recent experience shows that demand-led growth strategies can raise productivity, raise wages, and lower unemployment. US policymakers must resist calls to dampen demand with higher interest rates.

 In Europe, faster growth is emerging and is expected to increase employment. But the European Central Bank must not chase US interest rates upward.

 Your great struggle to end a deep recession which has heightened insecurity and dampened consumption here in Japan is crucially important. Lasting growth in Asia and balanced growth worldwide depends on your recovery.

 We hope that the leaders gathered in Okinawa will firmly reject the council of those who urge tighter monetary policies.

 Even the strongest economies carry potentially dangerous sources of instability. We need to coordinate economic policy to sustain higher levels of demand at home. Any strategy that relies on slow growth and export competition will fail in the long term.

 We need to share the benefits of growth more widely within and between countries and reduce inequality. Otherwise we risk widening social division, social alienation and lost government legitimacy. Strong, shared worker protections play an important role in reaching these objectives, as do trade unions. Universal respect for worker rights is a key to the success of a strategy for true global growth.

 To avoid recurrence of  the Asian crisis, we need to regulate financial markets to curb reckless speculation. Regional and international mechanisms must be created to exchange information, monitor short-term capital flows, stabilize currencies, expand trade and investment, and establish social safety nets. 

 We must remedy the lack of necessary technical resources that is exacerbating the rise of global inequality within and among nations. We cannot allow the next generation of children in developing countries to grow up with a “digital divide”, unable to participate in the information superhighway - the Internet, and without the training to benefit from the technology revolution.

 Developing and crisis-hit countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa must be given the means to expand domestic demand. this requires a shift in IMF stabilization programs from an emphasis on austerity and deregulation to support for growth in domestic demand and equitable distribution.

 We welcome the newly revised OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises which require that governments establish transparent and effective implementation mechanisms that can ensure higher standards worldwide. We must work together to turn this promise turn into reality. 

 If trade liberalization is to have legitimacy, then it must merge into wider concerns of public policy. Developing countries must be better integrated into the WTO decision-making process and, where they recognize core labor standards, be given increased and preferential access to industrialized country markets.

 Trade accords and international financial institutions must protect people and not just property. We will work to secure rules for the global economy that enforce workers rights and environmental protections. 

 A broad, multilateral rules-based system is needed. The ILO Declaration sets a standard which must be realized system-wide - in the programs of all of the international institutions, embodied in IMF and World Bank policies as well as in WTO rules.

 The strengthening of independent unions is fundamental to that mission, because independent unions are essential building blocks to robust democracies. Trade unions have fought in the front lines for democracy in many countries, under many conditions, from Gdansk to Soweto. When the worlds remaining dictatorships in China, Burma, Cuba, North Korea and elsewhere fail, unions will lead efforts to build democratic institutions from the ground up.

 Together, we can transform the insecurities and the fears and doubts clouding our future into empowerment and optimism by expanding prosperity for all.

 Thank you.

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Capturé par MemoWeb à partir de http://www.tuac.org/news/nsweeney.htm  le 25/03/02
Capturé par MemoWeb à partir de http://www.tuac.org/news/nsweeney.htm  le 25/03/02