Press Release: High-Level Meetings of Global Unions/World Confederation of Labor (WCL) with the IMF and World Bank, October 6-8, 2004

October 8, 2004

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank met on October 6-8, 2004 with about 80 labor union leaders from around the world. The trade union delegation included representatives and affiliates of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), World Confederation of Labor (WCL), Global Union Federations and the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The delegation was headed by Guy Ryder, General Secretary of the ICFTU, and Willy Thys, General Secretary of the WCL. IMF and World Bank management, staff and Executive Directors participated in the meetings.

The discussions, part of regular biennial high-level meetings initiated in 2002, focused on issues of common interest to the unions and the IMF and the World Bank, including how to reduce poverty effectively and achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), while also enhancing employment opportunities and social inclusion, and reducing inequities.

IMF Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato remarked that unions, like the IMF, had an important role to play in informing the debate on national economic policy choices, and in many countries were "important and sometimes indispensable instruments for social change." World Bank President James D. Wolfensohn also saw labor issues as central to development, noting that, in any society, productive employment was key to stability and hope, and thus ultimately to peace. In this context, they welcomed the increasingly cooperative and productive dialogue between labor unions and the IMF and the World Bank.

The meetings were held at the American Federation of Labor/Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL/CIO) on October 6, at the IMF on October 7, and at the World Bank on October 8.

A summary of the proceedings, jointly agreed by the participants, will be published at a later date.


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