G20 must ‘drop obsession with free markets' – GMB, War on Want

3 November 2011 - 9:17am
Press release

Union and charity offer solutions to resolve economic crisis and deliver social justice

The GMB and War on Want today add their voices to growing international calls for structural economic reform, in the first combined union-charity statement to link the crises in Europe and in the developing world.

They call on world leaders meeting at the G20 summit in Cannes to abandon the ‘neoliberal' economic model that they say has precipitated the worst recession in 80 years and to instead prioritise the long-term interests of their citizens.

The statement identifies the structural failings that have led to the current global crisis and highlights governments' deregulation and pursuit of free trade that have enabled multinational corporations to maximise profits by driving down workers' pay and conditions and decimating job security.

GMB general secretary Paul Kenny said: “The current economic model is driven by growth and the accumulation of capital, often to the exclusion of all other objectives. This has fed a downward spiral of workers' wages, terms and conditions. Governments must instead actively promote decent work, public accountability for companies, managed trade, stable commodity markets and progressive taxation.”

War on Want executive director John Hilary added: “From Wall Street to St Paul's, from the streets of Athens to Tahrir Square, a growing movement is calling for an end to the economic system based on financial bubbles and corporate greed. If David Cameron and the G20 leaders want to remain relevant in the 21st century, they should drop their obsession with free markets and listen to their citizens.”

The statement comes less than a month before anticipated strikes on Wednesday 30 November, over which the GMB, alongside most other unions in the public sector, is balloting its members.

The GMB and War on Want accuse the UK coalition government of responding to structural defects in its economic model with “an assault on the poorest members of society” and slam its efforts to make life easier for employers by ‘cutting red tape': “What that really means is making it easier to dismiss workers without compensation and making it more difficult for unions to defend them.”

They propose a solution based on public accountability of companies, managed trade, stable commodity markets, progressive taxation, controls on capital, and new economic metrics to reflect social justice. 


War on Want: media officer Paul Collins 07983 550 728.         
GMB: media officer Rose Conroy 07974 251 823 or international officer Bert Schouwenburg 07974 251 764


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