Skip to main content

Unions: Invest trillion euros to combat 'failed' austerity

By Irene Chapple, CNN
updated 8:45 PM EDT, Tue May 28, 2013
(File photo} Protesters demonstrate against education cuts and reforms on May 9, 2013 in Madrid, Spain.
(File photo} Protesters demonstrate against education cuts and reforms on May 9, 2013 in Madrid, Spain.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Union representatives told OECD Forum policy makers must shift away from austerity
  • Unions have proposed nine-point plan including increased investment in job creation
  • The unions are also pushing for a crackdown on corporate taxation loopholes

Editor's note: CNN's Irene Chapple is reporting from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Council meeting in Paris. Follow her on Twitter.

Paris (CNN) -- The "failed" policies of austerity must be rejected and focus instead turn to job creation, international union representatives said during a meeting of global leaders in Paris Tuesday.

Members of the International Trade Union Confederation, speaking at the Organisation for Economic and Cooperation and Development (OECD) Forum, said the world needed to shift its focus as harsh austerity measures had been unable to pull troubled nations such as those in the eurozone out of recession.

Read more: Australia is the 'lucky country' for a better life

Richard Trumka, of the AFL-CIO union in the U.S., said austerity had "totally and utterly failed," destroying millions of jobs, driving economies into recession and choking recovery.

Spain's brick factories' 'tough' future
Iceland overcomes economic challenges
Debating against austerity measures

It had created a "lost generation" of youth that economies and societies could not afford, he added.

General secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, Sharan Burrow, said there was an "urgent need" to turn away from austerity with the issue now being "jobs, jobs, jobs."

Opinion: Why austerity is killing us

Burrow called for a 1 trillion euro investment into infrastructure as a way to create jobs and combat the financial crisis.

Polling conducted by the unions and presented at the conference showed seven countries -- Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, UK and the U.S. -- supported, by a huge majority, investments in education, research and new technologies.

The research showed 92% of those polled supported investment in education, research and new technologies, 87% supported investment in clean energy and environmental industries and 85% supported policies to stop corporates avoiding tax. The results came from more than 13,000 online interviews over 13 countries in the second half of April 2013.

"We simply have a message that says people want action," Burrow said.

The comments come as, according to union figures, worldwide unemployment is set to rise above 200 million and youth unemployment hits 74 million.

Burrow said "there is enormous amounts of money" available to invest in policies for job creation, but it was tied up on corporate books and in speculative capital and needed to be redirected.

The unions are also pushing for a crackdown on tax havens, saying a coordinated jobs plan could be funded by closing corporate tax loopholes.

John Evans, general secretary of the Trade Union Advisory Council to the OECD, said: "Five years into the economic crisis the threat posed by tax havens has not disappeared. We need action not words."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:36 AM EDT, Mon August 18, 2014
Europe's deteriorating relationship with Russia has hit the region's growth, even before new food sanctions begin to bite.
updated 12:34 PM EDT, Wed July 16, 2014
With cyberattacks on the rise and here to stay, it's a modern-day challenge for people and businesses to get smarter about preventing them.
updated 9:24 AM EDT, Thu August 14, 2014
Airstrikes, rebels seizing control of oil fields, plus a severe refugee crisis are a recipe for market panic. So why are Iraq oil prices stable?
updated 11:24 AM EDT, Sun July 20, 2014
Evidence points to pro-Russian separatists as perpetrators of the attack and Vladimir Putin is facing uncomfortable questions, David Clark writes.
updated 10:40 AM EDT, Tue August 5, 2014
The biggest Ebola outbreak in history is taking its toll in Western Africa, hitting some of West Africa's most vulnerable economies.
updated 5:02 AM EDT, Thu July 3, 2014
Macau has overtaken Switzerland in the wealth stakes, being named the world's fourth richest territory by the World Bank.
updated 10:47 AM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
Saudi Arabian Bateel brand is best known for its delectable dates but it now has more than a dozen cafes and a new bakery in the works.
updated 7:00 AM EDT, Thu July 17, 2014
A British nanotech company has created what it says is the world's darkest material. It is so dark the human eye can't discern its shape and form.
updated 12:02 PM EDT, Wed July 16, 2014
Jibo robot is designed to be an organizer, educator and assist family members. CNN's Maggie Lake met him and says she was impressed with his skills.
updated 5:09 PM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
American burger joints have sprung up all over London, but how to know which ones are best? CNN's Jim Boulden investigates.
updated 8:22 AM EDT, Wed June 18, 2014
Sandwiched in between Iraq and Syria, Jordan's destiny seems to be one of a constant struggle for survival. John Defterios explains.
updated 11:02 AM EDT, Wed June 18, 2014
At the last football World Cup, it was all about 3D. This time around, it's nothing less than 4K.
updated 6:58 AM EDT, Wed July 16, 2014
Bob Mazzer has photographed inside London's Tube network for 40 years. He's captured history.
updated 1:12 PM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
Exotic animals are becoming a profitable business opportunity for Nicaraguan entrepreneurs. CNN's Rafael Romo reports.
updated 11:29 AM EDT, Fri June 13, 2014
Iraq produces 3.3 million barrels per day and has the world's fourth-largest oil reserves. But the current crisis is putting all this in danger.
updated 8:22 AM EDT, Wed June 18, 2014
Sandwiched in between Iraq and Syria, Jordan's destiny seems to be one of a constant struggle for survival. John Defterios explains.
updated 9:14 AM EDT, Mon June 16, 2014
The gas standoff between Russia and Ukraine could have a knock-on effect on Europe. Explore this map to find out why is the EU nervous.
updated 6:58 AM EDT, Wed July 16, 2014
Bob Mazzer has photographed inside London's Tube network for 40 years. He's captured history.
updated 8:06 AM EDT, Tue June 17, 2014
The UK capital promotes its tech stars and shows it can compete with Silicon Valley. Here are five companies that pitch to make it big.
ADVERTISEMENT