The ITUC has called on the international financial institutions at their Spring Meetings next week to put in place an
urgent and comprehensive plan in response to the economic destruction caused by the COVID pandemic, with jobs and social
protection at the centre.
"COVID-19 will have catastrophic impacts in the poorest countries, and social protection is urgently needed to keep
countries afloat and avoid widespread famine. Billions of dollars are needed, and while the amount may be large, it is
only a small fraction of the trillions of financial stimulus pledged by the G20. The pandemic affects all humanity, and
only by the whole world working together can we come through it," said Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary.
The social protection call is included in the ITUC/Global Unions Statement https://www.ituc-csi.org/statement-spring-meetings-2020
to the Spring Meetings; which sets out the needs for coordinated action by governments and global institutions for
economic stimulus, public health action and debt relief.
Central to the plan is a call on the IMF to issue extra ‘Special Drawing Rights’, a foreign exchange mechanism that can
deliver desperately-needed help to the poorest countries and maintain financial stability, as it did in 2009. This new
allocation should be accompanied by a Trust Fund through which advanced economy countries can reallocate their holdings
of SDRs to other countries.
For emerging and developing countries, SDR allocation would provide the kind of economic support that advanced economies
execute through Quantitative Easing. Debt relief is also required, tied to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, not to
failed neoliberal structural reform. While the G20 committed to a record stimulus of $5 trillion, it risks excluding
most emerging and developing countries.
"The Trust Fund should earmark public health, social protection and jobs to ensure that the money reaches people, helps
preserve jobs and stimulates the real economy in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Public health and
social protection are the first line of defence as economies come under unbearable strain and global supply chains are
threatened. The scale of the human cost in the poorest countries requires the international system to deliver right
away, and we mustn’t forget that emerging economies too are experiencing capital outflows that are a grave economic
threat," said Burrow.