Global Union Federations Demand New Priorities from G8, G20 Summits

OTTAWA, June 20 /CNW Telbec/ - Meeting in Toronto on 19 June, 270 national trade union leaders from 50 countries put forward a stern Declaration to the G8 and G20 that a radically changed global social order must occur, one prioritizing security of employment and preservation of the environment. The Declaration, pointed at the G8 and G20 summits this week in Toronto, came from a "Triple Crisis of Sustainability" forum, a meeting of union leaders representing 55 million workers from industrial and manufacturing sectors.

The Declaration was a joint undertaking of the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine, and General Workers' Unions (ICEM), the International Metalworkers' Federation (IMF), and the International Textile, Garment, and Leather Workers' Federation (ITGLWF). It was done with local cooperation by five trade unions representing industrial and other workers in Canada: Communications, Energy, Paperworkers (CEP) Union of Canada, the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW), the Power Workers Union (PWU), the United Steelworkers (USW), and the International Association of Machinists (IAM).

At the core of the Declaration is a demand that finance and political ministers put in place a stringent global financial governance system, introduce an international financial transaction tax, and reach an ambitious and binding agreement on greenhouse gas emissions at Cop16 in Mexico later this year.

The 10-point Declaration also calls for guarantees that fundamental workers' and trade union rights be respected in trade and investment deals; that sustainable development be made a criteria in trade and investment agreements; and that thorough assessment and assurance of social, economic, and environment well-being is contained in trade agreements. The full Declaration can be found here:

"Industrial workers have a central role to play in building a future that lifts people out of poverty while protecting the environment," states the Declaration. "Through industrial and political action, our three global federations demand that the world's leaders take decisive actions to solve the economic, social, and environmental crises."

Regarding the timing of the Declaration, ICEM General Secretary Manfred Warda said, "The global economy is still on life-support and continued stimulus is needed. Re-regulating markets, a move to full employment, and a set of social stabilizers to reduce a rapid slide into poverty by hundreds of millions of people is essential."

Added IMF General Secretary Jyrki Raina: "Industry is the locomotive of national economies, as a provider of good quality jobs with decent wages and working hours, and the right to join a union. We need to limit precarious work by legislation and collective agreements, and develop industrial policies for sustainable development both in industrialised and developing countries."

Geneva-based ICEM has 467 trade union affiliates in 132 countries, and represents 20 million workers. The IMF, also based in Geneva, represents the collective interests of 25 million metalworkers from more than 200 unions in 100 countries. The Brussels-based ITGLWF covers 217 trade unions in 110 countries.


For further information: For further information: Dick Blin, ICEM Information Officer,, +1 416 361 1000 Ext. 3344, +41 79 734 8994 (mobile); or Alexander Ivanou, IMF Communications,, +41 22 308 5033.

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