At the annual OECD Ministerial Council Meeting this week, the Trade Union Advisory Council and its members are calling for “Roadmap for fair and sustainable recovery that people can trust.”
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented drop in global GDP and a massive increase in unemployment—exacerbating the ongoing crises of inequality and declining worker power. The global trade union movement is calling on OECD governments to work together and take decisive actions against these escalating economic emergencies that could rapidly undermine democracy.
In her address to the ministers, UNI Global Union General Secretary Christy Hoffman reiterated TUAC’s call for a progressive trade and investment policy that shifts priority away from foreign investors and towards protecting human rights—including workers’ right to union representation—as well as environmental and integrity standards.
“The Covid-19 crisis and the disruptions in the global supply chain that have occurred, are exposing, once again, a fragile trade and investment system,” said Hoffman. “Rather than spreading the potential of trade to promote economic diversification, the trade liberalisation agenda seems to create just the opposite: concentration of market power in a few hands, unfair competition leading to a race to the bottom, on social, environmental and tax matters.”
She continued: “A first step in that direction is to make trade and investment agreements contingent on strong, verifiable responsible business outcomes. That would require mandatory due diligence on labour rights.”
Hoffman’s comments came in the context of TUAC’s broader demands for a just recovery. The recovery must:
- Maintain and expand job and social protection schemes for workers and the most vulnerable to prevent anyone from falling rapidly into poverty;
- Scale-up and expand our public health systems and universal access to public health care;
- Engage massive and sustained support to the economy – with conditions on employment and social justice.