dc ej es g8 gf mt sd tu

Day 2 of the OECD Week: New Economic Outlook features Old Recommendations
Paris, May 7, 2014


The release of the OECD Economic Outlook marked the key event linking the Forum and the Ministerial Meeting, setting the tone for the discussions throughout the day. Growth forecasts are fragile and still not up to pre-crisis levels, the risk of deflation in parts of Europe remains real and unemployment levels are still on the rise or stagnant in the OECD area.

While business representatives called for predictability and confidence in economic policies, union representatives argued that this can only be achieved if there is consumer confidence and wages start to rise. This calls for more and better jobs, and policies aimed to decrease inequality. It was decisive to see what kind of reforms the OECD would propose to move closer to inclusive and resilient growth.

The Economic Outlook repeats  past calls for structural reforms. Its three main messages are: 1. Global growth will strengthen; 2 Risks could blow recovery off course; 3. Structural “reforms” are needed to create jobs. Given the strong focus on inequality during the Forum, it was contradictory not to see a policy change - although the jury is out as to whether NAEC will eventually deliver it.

Speaking at the panel on the Economic Outlook and at the Ministerial on the NAEC project, TUAC President Richard Trumka referred to this dichotomy, asking to which OECD he was supposed to talk to: the one promoting inclusive growth and the need to reduce inequality or the one structural reforms through labour market flexibility that mean lower wages . He also said that while skills are key, highly qualified workers in the US often struggle to find a position and are confronted by falling wages. As Sharan Burrow during the Trade Panel, he called on new trade deals to include labour standards and promote good and fairly remunerated jobs. In the same vein, Nobuaki Koga (Rengo) at the Forum and the Ministerial Meeting said that resilience - this year's core theme -  can only come about if unions are part of the solution, and dialogue is restored to promote joint interests of business, workers and governments. Marie –Louise Knuppert talking at the Ministerial Session on climate change said that “just transition” strategies were essential to link the agenda for reducing climate and change and creating decent jobs.

The Ministerial Meeting continues today with sessions on global value chains, trade and development and have TUAC representatives take the floor.