Challenging IFIs, Eastern Europe meeting

On 4-5 October in Warsaw, the PERC, in cooperation with the FES, has organised a seminar for Eastern European organisations on the role of the International Financial Institutions in global economy and the ways unions can influence their policies and to use their projects to protect core labour standards.

Peter Bakvis, Director of the ITUC - Global Unions Washington office, presented the history of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank for Reconstruction and Development. In particular, he concentrated on majour concerns of unions about the IMF structural adjustment programmes and the tightening the belt advises that the IMF is giving now to countries affected by the crisis. These austerity measures would only worsen the economic situation in the countries and would delay global economic recovery.

The participants debated also the mechanisms the International Financial Corporation and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development installed to verify compliance of its clients with core labour and environment standards. In particular, the cases of successful use of such procedures in Pakistan, Uganda and Haiti were discussed where union positions at the enterprises who requested IFC loans, became stronger.

At brainstorming session the participants also outlined directions for union work with IFIs: the need to engage into dialog, but also to undertake actions in case social policies are neglected, the opportunity to use the IFC and EBRD standards for organising and getting union recognition at the enterprise level, the need to get IFI loans and projects part of national social dialog processes.

IMF and WB
IFIs and their role in crisis