Labour representatives meet World Bank

12 December 2000

In late October 60 labour organization representatives met World Bank and IMF staff to discuss trade union issues. World Bank President, James Wolfensohn, offered to set up a position in the Bank to monitor labour issues in bank projects. He also said that the mission of both the Bank and the IMF is to reduce poverty, but that privatization would continue to be necessary to achieve this. Under questioning Wolfensohn said that the Bank does respect three out of the five core labour rights (anti-slavery, anti child labour and anti-discrimination) but that it cannot respect the other two (freedom of association and collective bargaining) because it does “not get involved in national politics”. Whilst this statement was greeted with disbelief, some welcome indications were given. Both institutions announced that instructions would be given to ensure that trade unions are invited to be involved in PRSP processes, the Bank agreed to more regular dialogues with trade unions internationally and the Bank is considering introducing mandatory labour clauses into Standard Bidding Documents for works.


International Federation of Building and Wood Workers

Public Services International