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World Bank and IMF Annual Meetings: Trade unions demand substantive reforms

As the World Bank and the IMF hold their Annual Meetings in Marrakech trade unions call on these institutions to embrace new economic paradigms to meet the dire challenges of the current moment, including the climate crisis, mounting debt, spiralling costs-of-living and growing inequality.

The decision to hold the meetings of the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) in Morocco underscores the failures of old policies in the region, as outlined in the Global Unions statement to the meetings: “The legacies of the Arab Spring still reverberate through the region today – and many of its underlying structural causes remain unaddressed.

“Weak labour markets have failed to absorb graduates, and opportunities for secure employment are particularly scarce for young people and women in the region. The public sector cuts promoted by the IFIs, including in education, erode not only a key source of decent work but a pillar of gender-equal employment.

“Flexibilisation and precarious work kick the ladder further away for marginalised workers. This structural exclusion from decent work not only perpetuates both social unrest and gender-based oppression, but also undermines equitable development.

The Global Unions call for a renewed multilateralism that “can provide the strength and legitimacy to undertake the bold projects our moment needs: to reform our broken ‘non-system’ for sovereign debt resolution, to invest in an energy transition without leaving communities behind, to guarantee universal social protection and to support inclusive growth through decent work characterised by robust social dialogue, freedom of association and collective bargaining – in other words, a New Social Contract.”

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Key demands by the Global Unions include:

  • Decent work: Labour market policies must promote decent work — founded on freedom of association and social dialogue — instead of precarious and informal work, and this must be included in the forthcoming labour policy statement.
  • Just transition: Work closely with trade unions to ensure that all climate financing is aligned with a just transition for workers.
  • Reform the international financial architecture: Address ballooning debt burdens and systemic inequities, including high borrowing costs and limited access to liquidity for developing countries and volatile capital flows.
  • Reconstruction done right: Ensure that funds allocated for reconstruction in Morocco, Turkey, Ukraine and other countries guarantee decent work—with freedom of association and collective bargaining— and health and safety for both workers and the communities their projects serve.

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