On November 20 a small group of trade unionists from affiliates of the International Trade Union Confederation and UNI Global Union gathered in Washington DC with representatives from FES New York for an internal strategy meeting. On November 21 they held a workshop with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on designing labour market institutions in emerging and developing countries. The meetings contributed to progress on moving the IMF to provide labour market advice consistent with international labour standards, although more work still needs to be done in this regard.
Trade unions and allies remain concerned about the broader structural reform agenda of the IMF in the wake of the October 2019 World Economic Outlook, which advocated a “reform push in such areas as governance, domestic and external finance, trade, and labor and product markets”. Nevertheless, the workshop appeared to reinforce the IMF’s understanding of the need for a more nuanced approach to employment protection legislation. Further dialogue will follow-up on subjects discussed during the workshop and will stress the importance of moving from a better understanding at the research level to changes in country policy advice and loan conditionality, which continues to prevent the building of new labour market institutions and the disassembly of existing institutions.