Global Trade Union and Workers Action on the Global Economic Recession

G20 Meeting, September 24-25, 2009, Pittsburg, USA
Concept Paper


The deepest worldwide crisis of capitalism since the Great Depression has so far seen the efforts of global finance capitalists, whose actions were its immediate cause, to make workers and peoples of the world bear the cost of the crisis. These ruthless capitalists use their political power to full effect for their own narrow benefit. Workers and peoples world-wide desperately need to challenge them before the situation gets even worse for the majority of the world’s population.

Unemployment, under-employment and job insecurity are soaring everywhere, with some analysts predicting a drop in remittances of migrant workers to their families and massive layoffs of migrant workers. Meanwhile, the “bonus pool” for finance executives is again bursting with billions of dollars – this time, composed of public funds smuggled into their coffers under the banner of “bailout.”

Many companies are taking advantage of this crisis as a most deceitful propaganda line to freeze wages, retrench workers and replace them with contractual or flexible labor, reduce working days or hours, bust unions and close plants and relocate to places with lower wages, more worker repression and weaker environment laws.

Women workers are most affected by this global capitalist crisis. They are losing their jobs and working hours. They are receiving low wages, enduring the break-up of their families and being forced into prostitution and sex-trafficking.

Instead of abolishing or radically democratising the International Monetary Fund, the G-20 has promoted and re-financed it. This could only empower the IMF which was responsible for promoting savage “structural adjustment programs” which deregulated global finance, enthroned the business model of transnational corporations, and attacked workers’ minimum wages and right to organise and strike.

The root causes of the global recession lie in the global capitalist system and “free-market globalisation” driven by the US, European and Japanese imperialists.

These have also caused the over-exploitation and depletion of the world’s resources, environmental destruction and excessive release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere – which have all resulted in global warming and increase in violent natural events.


As the ruling classes of various countries tighten their unity in the face of the global financial and economic crisis, we workers and peoples of the world are working closer together and uniting even more to defend and advance our rights and interests against the offensive being carried out by the ruling classes.

We workers and peoples have always needed strong and active trade unions but especially in these times, when capitalists want to lay all the burden of the crises on our shoulders. They want to split us and increase the competition between us, even provoke hatred and violence between us, because they know – workers, united, will never be defeated!

We workers and peoples want to realize our right for a secure job without being blackmailed, a secure job that will enable us to provide a humane life for us and our families.

We don’t want our children to have to leave school for the reason that we have no more money to pay for their education.

We don’t want poor people dying and the sick remaining uncured because there are no health services available to them. We don’t want the poorest have to become homeless.

We don’t want the livelihood of peasant farmers to be ruined by big agro-industrial transnational corporations. We don’t want them to lose their lands to TNCs like Nestle and Monsanto.

We don’t want to be modern slaves of the World Trade Organization, which is desperately calling for more “free trade” to help TNCs recover from the great slump in trade.

We have the right to do political work, to fight independently and to strike, without any interference by those who collaborate with capitalists and without being harassed by police, soldiers or security. Yet in many countries, to stifle our legitimate dissent, we are illegally dismissed, intimidated, harassed, abducted or killed by company goons or state security forces.

It is our task as workers and peoples, and of our trade unions and trade union representatives, to struggle for the interests and rights of working families. We should oppose policies of collaborating with the boss’s schemes to bolster profits, and we should fight directly for workers' basic demands.

We say “no” to oppression and dismissals of workers’ leaders and activists – all for one and one for all! Touch one, touch all!

We fight against temporary work and contract work – we are one workforce.

We fight for the reduction of working hours with full wage compensation instead of job cuts.

We stand for human rights in all workplaces. We demand a stop to the killings of labor leaders, union members and labor advocates. We say “no” to all forms of labor repression.

We are strong when we join together.

We workers and peoples can make a new world that is more equal, more just, more humane and environmentally sustainable, if we can challenge and defeat the political power of the global capitalists.


Many of us believe that the global capitalist system, which we also call imperialism, has no solution to this crisis, except to make working men and women pay the heavy cost of corporate recovery, and even to launch wars of conquest to do so.

The G-20 Leaders Meeting scheduled for Pittsburgh, USA on September 24-25, 2009, is a good opportunity to protest against the perpetrators of this crisis and their moves, and to show that working people can unite – whatever our colour, gender, nationality, religion or age – to defend our common interests. Like Seattle, Pittsburgh is a fine union city.

We need to project socialist, green, worker-control and public sector alternatives to the global power of the big US, European and Japanese capitalists, if we are to build a world where our children and all people can enjoy a most beautiful paradise of humanity!

It is our right to fight state policies inimical to workers’ interests – those that destroy our jobs and livehood and that which slowly kill us!

It is the order of the day to fight corporation-wide and across borders! It is time. Let us fight together hand in hand!

We call on trade union organizations and workers’ associations around the world to prepare effective actions on September 24-25, 2009, devising slogans relevant in each of our countries but which also resonate globally. Since our calls are directed at governments, we call on trade union organizations and workers’ associations to launch these actions near the centers of political power in our countries. Each of our actions in those two days will strengthen all of our actions.

It is also a call to build an ever-stronger unity of the workers movements to win the imagination of the world for a democratic, inclusive, peaceful and environmentally sustainable world. This is a vital part of a process to win political power from the capitalists, amid this global economic and environmental crisis which is unlikely to abate, in fact at present is more likely to deepen.


Initial thinking for this proposition was done by workers, trade unionists from 17 countries gathered at the 25th International Solidarity Affairs of Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) in Manila and Tagaytay City, Cavite, Philippines, soon after May Day this year. We all face common problems, even if we are far away of each others and even if we are coming from rich and poor countries.

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