1st Edition

Employment Relations and Global Governance The Dialogue between the Global Unions and the IFIs

By Yvonne Rueckert Copyright 2024
    240 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Globalisation has created many opportunities for economic development, but it is also associated with rising income inequality and poverty. International crises such as the international financial and economic crisis of 2008, and more recently the global health pandemic, have led to a rise in unemployment and income losses for workers and a surge in the violation of workers’ rights.

    At global level intergovernmental organisations including the World Bank and the IMF are influential actors and policy makers which promote the UN Sustainable Development Goals. However, the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) have been criticised for their internal political power imbalances and macroeconomic policy prescriptions based on neo-liberal principles. The Global Unions and their affiliates as well as the International Labour Organisation (ILO) regularly comment on the negative impact of the IFI’s policies in regard to labour flexibilisation and the privatisation of public and social services.

    In 2002 a formalised dialogue was established between the Global Unions and the IFIs which addresses labour, social and environmental issues. This dialogue takes place at three levels: the country level, the sector level, and the headquarters level. The ILO maintains its own dialogue with the IFIs, but it also participates at the headquarters-level dialogue between the Global Unions and the IFIs.

    Employment Relations and Global Governance focuses on the headquarters-level dialogue which can be considered as a strategic instrument that helps the Global Unions and their affiliates to exercise influence over the policies of the IFIs, especially those policies which concern workers. The book describes and analyses the development of the dialogue since its establishment with a particular focus on factors which promote and hinder the dialogue.

    The book provides important insights into the real-world functioning of the institutions of economic global governance and its broader impact on the world of work. It is likely to be key reading for academics, researchers and students studying global employment relations, political economy, and international organisations. It will also be of interest to international and national trade unions, non-governmental organisations, and policy makers.

    Chapter 1 – Introduction   Chapter 2 - Theoretical Framework – Global Governance and Organisation Theories   Chapter 3 - The Global Unions – The ITUC, GUFs and the TUAC   Chapter 4 - The IFIs – The World Bank Group and the IMF   Chapter 5 - The International Labour Organisation and its cooperation with the World Bank and the IMF    Chapter 6 - The dialogue and cooperation between the Global Unions, the ILO and the IFIs   Chapter 7 - Conclusion


    Yvonne Rueckert is Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Business and Law at the University of Portsmouth, UK. She has held several research and teaching posts in Germany and Spain and was awarded a PhD scholarship from the prestigious German research foundation the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.

    "The book offers the first detailed study of the interactions between the international financial institutions and the global labor movement through a little-known but formal dialogue process. Given the wider questioning of World Bank and IMF economic policy in general—and labor and social policy in particular—the study offers fascinating insight into the organizational, ideological and power imbalances that reinforce the status quo. The author uses mixed research methods including structured interviews with key actors to present a nuanced examination of the potential of this ongoing process to improve the quality of global economic governance." Sandra Polaski, former Deputy Director-General for Policy, International Labour Organization

    "There is much on transnational social dialogue, but this book focuses on international financial institutions and the much broader policy role of international labour organisations. It looks closely at the way these relations develop and the range of challenges that emerge in a detailed manner. It successfully fills a gap in debates on this level of political engagement." Professor Miguel Martinez Lucio, University of Manchester

    "This is a very topical, valuable and insightful analysis of the Global Unions, the ILO and the International Financial Institutions. It is highly recommended to all who are interested in global governance and employment relations." Greg J. Bamber, Professor, Monash University, Australia; co-editor, International & Comparative Employment Relations: Global Crises & Institutional Responses (SAGE)