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latest news > news in brief > Labour Assembly: Southern Trade Unions’ Voice on Global Economic & Social Crisis

Labour Assembly: Southern Trade Unions’ Voice on Global Economic & Social Crisis

3 November 2010

Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU)

Central Única**dos Trabalhadores(CUT-Brazil)

Korean Confederation of Trade Unions


G20, a group of the 20 largest economies in the world designated itself as a center to defeat the global crisis. However, the solution given by the G20 is to keep stable the world system in which the profit is maximized thorough jobless growth and sacrifice of labour. People have lost their jobs and wages with the excuse of the crisis, and precious tax money paid by the people was put to bailout the banks. As fiscal crisis seems to be possible, governments is forcing the people into enduring the devastating impact of austerity packages.

In the Pittsburgh G20 summit, the heads of states of the member countries agreed that the current challenges do not provide an excuse to disregard or weaken internationally recognised labour standards. Nevertheless, they have mentioned creation of decent work and guarantee of fundamental labour rights only as lip services. For example, the G20 financial ministers meeting which was convened right after the fiscal crisis in southern Europe officially supported the most serious forms of the austerity measure, including wage cut, tax increases, freeze on new hiring in public sector and flexibilization of labour in private sector, which the Greek government had adopted to get IMF/EU bailout.

It is argued that the G20 is more democratic than G7-8 in that it guarantees participation of developing countries. However, the G20 is no more than a space of international cooperation for a U.S-dominated world system. Under the current system, the expansion to the G20 is mainly motivated by the need of cooperation from emerging countries to manage "global imbalance". The biggest victims of neo-liberal globalisation which characterised exploitation and exclusion at global level are still excluded, especially from Africa no county has been invited but Republic of South Africa.

In the wake of the 2007-2009 global crisis, trade unions in each country has been struggling to protect employment, wage and fundamental labour rights under the slogan "We will not pay for the crisis!". In addition to this, on occasion of G20 Summit, trade unions has exposed the contradictions and limitation of G20’s response to the crisis and suggested their own alternatives.

In this context, on occasion of the People’s Week of Collective Action protesting the Seoul G20 Summit which is initiated by the Korean social movements, we would like to hold a Labour Assembly to share the reality around wage, employment and fundamental labour rights after the crisis and responses by trade unions and highlight the voices of workers especially in the global south on the G20 summit.


_ Date: November 9, 2010

_ Venue: To be confirmed

_ Programme :

_ /G20, From the perspective of the people in the global south: Is G20 really able to representative the people in the Global South?/

_ /G20, From the perspective of trade unions: Is G20 really able to expand decent work and fundamental labour rights?///

_ /Trade Union’s Alternative for the global crisis///

_ /Statement Adoption/

_ Targeted Participants: Trade unionist in the global south /non-G20 countries.

_ (It is also open to trade unions in the global north/G20 countries)

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