Tell the World Bank to Change Course, Support Democracy in Societies

This will be a pivotal year for democracy – 4 billion people in more than 60 countries will go to the polls in 2024. Even in countries that will not vote this year, working people are fighting for democracy at work, in societies, and at global institutions.

That’s why the ITUC recently launched its campaign For Democracy. We believe that to protect and expand democracy in societies, governments must deliver for workers. At the centre of this campaign is our demand that governments embrace a new social contract, one that guarantees jobs, rights, wages, social protection, equality, and inclusion.

For the equitable, sustainable development required to make these demands real, our governments cannot continue as they have in the past. Unfortunately, many of our international institutions are stuck in old, failing models. For example, this year, the World Bank will begin releasing its new B-Ready reports, which will encourage countries to adopt a race-to-the-bottom in labour standards that undermines working conditions, erodes workers’ rights, and makes a new social contract harder to achieve.

From 19-21 April 2024, the World Bank and IMF will host their spring meetings. Sign the petition and, together, let’s send a clear message: it’s time for the World Bank to change course and support worker demands for a new social contract!

To: World Bank Executive Directors

This month in countries around the world, workers and trade unions are fighting For Democracy in societies. Democracy is in grave danger, especially where our governments are not listening to the calls of working people and their trade unions. With the 2024 Spring Meetings of the World Bank and IMF approaching, we submit this petition to remind you and the delegation representing our countries that real democracy means national policies that deliver for working people.

The labour movement has consistently promoted good jobs as the surest foundation for sustainable growth, and we are encouraged by President Ajay Banga’s focus on jobs. However, we fear that the World Bank’s current direction only undermines its stated goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting prosperity on a livable planet. Examples of this out-of-step direction include:

  • The forthcoming B-Ready reports, which trade unions have consistently opposed for their promotion of deregulation and flexibilization.
  • The Bank’s interpretation of the digital and energy transitions as opportunities for deregulation, flexibilization, and privatization, rather than opportunities for expanding decent work.
  • The Bank’s continued promotion of narrowly-targeted social programs and individualized private savings, which undermine public social insurance at a time when it needs to be radically strengthened.

There are many opportunities for the Bank to engage fruitfully with these challenges, including:

  • The forthcoming International Development Association (IDA) resource replenishment process, with its continued emphasis on Jobs and Economic Transformation, should focus on creating better quality jobs and measuring their economic impact.
  • The Universal Social Protection (USP2030) partnership and the Global Accelerator on Jobs and Social Protection for Just Transitions can better align the World Bank with multilateral partners like the International Labour Organization to deliver on its goal of universal social protection
  • The challenges of the digital and energy transition provide a once-in-a-generation opportunity for investments in sustainable, equitable growth.

With this in mind, we demand that key institutions like the World Bank prioritise the counsel of working people and trade unions instead of promoting policies that have only served to harm us, undermine our trade unions, and sew political instability in our countries. In a time of crisis, the democratic legitimacy of our multilateral system depends on it.

Now is the time for change.

Signatures: 2.283 / 2.500