As the G20 sit down for their conference on 7 November, Put People First will be holding two parallel ‘counter conferences’, allowing academics, activists, campaigners, unions and policy makers in London and St Andrews to debate alternative policies to promote jobs, justice and a safe climate.
Glen Tarman of BOND, chair of Put People First, said:
“The G20 appears to have made progress on some critical issues but there are also missed opportunities, especially on building a green economy, and causes for real concern in other areas. G20 leaders have not yet gone far enough on the fundamental changes the world needs.
“Our campaign for jobs, justice and climate has clearly made some impact, but three big tests remain:
Will the G20, the UN and the Copenhagen climate conference do far more to break from the failed policies that brought about the global crisis?
Will governments agree a comprehensive package of policies that will deliver a new financial architecture and ensure the world emerges from the global recession as a fairer and green place?
Where there are positive words today, will they be turned into action tomorrow?
“Put People First – and campaigners all around the world – will continue to make the case for change throughout this critical year. Wherever world leaders go to discuss these issues they will hear the voices of ordinary people demanding change.”
Put People First is an unprecedented alliance of 160 unions, development, faith and climate change groups. More than 35,000 people marched through central London on Saturday under the Put People First banner to demand jobs, justice and climate.
Notes to editors:
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Trade union leaders from around the world are converging on London this week to press their case at the G20 Summit on the global economic crisis. Meetings with the Summit host British Prime Minster Gordon Brown today (Tuesday) and Australian Prime Minster Kevin Rudd on Wednesday will round off dozens of similar meetings with heads of governments, organised by national union leaders in their home countries since the beginning of last week. Read more…
This is the press release we put out yesterday at about 1:30 while the march was still under way.
Press Release from Put People First
28/3/09 – immediate
Statement by Glen Tarman, Chair of the Put People First co-ordination team.
“Today’s march has brought thousands of people together from more than 150 organisations drawn from a huge range of development, union, faith and environmental groups.
“More than a thousand have joined the march from a huge ecumenical church service led by the Bishop of London.
“Similar events have taken place in towns and cities across the globe.
“All have been united by the clear message that the G20 leaders at their summit next week cannot go back to business as usual. They must take action for jobs, to stop climate chaos and to fight poverty and inequality throughout the world.
“But today’s march is not the end of our campaign, but the start. The UK holds the chair of the G20 group for the rest of this crucial year when the G8, the G20 and the United Nations all meet to chart a way through the recession. And 2009 ends with the vital Copenhagen climate conference.
“An exciting alliance has been born today. We will keep up the pressure on world leaders and the UK government to address our demands and put people first.”
Joint General Secretary of the trade union Unite, Tony Woodley, tells us why he’s asking his members and supporters to turn out in large numbers for the Put People First London march and rally on Saturday 28 March 2009, ahead of the G20 summit on the financial crisis.
There have been a number of newspaper stories suggesting that the Put People First march will not be peaceful. Simon Jenkins in the Evening Standard today says that “Chaos, if not violence, is certain.”
He has no evidence for this, and we are writing to the Evening Standard both to correct this smear and to invite Londoners to join us on Saturday.
Other journalists have written stories confusing our march with a range of other events and demonstrations taking place next week during the G20 summit – none of which are organised by, or supported by Put People First collectively.
Our worry is that these misleading stories will deter people joining us. But there is no evidence that this will be anything other than a peaceful, law abiding and enjoyable event.
This is what we are now saying to journalists who ask about this:
“The Put People First march for jobs, justice and climate brings together more than 150 groups committed to making the event a peaceful and law-abiding call on the G20 governments to commit to policies that will deliver jobs, end poverty and move to a low-carbon economy.
The event has been organised in full co-operation with the police and the Hyde Park authorities.
We have no evidence that anyone attending intends to disrupt our plans, break the law or commit any acts of violence. Nor have the police informed us that they have any such intelligence.
Put People First is not organising or collectively supporting any other demonstrations or protest events being held in the subsequent week to co-incide with the G20 summit.”
The Guardian today corrected a (much-less damaging) story saying that the TUC was organising a jobs rally in Trafalgar Square the same week as the summit.
International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) press release – 23 March 2009
In a worldwide push for action by G20 governments to pull the global economy out of recession and chart a new course for job creation, financial regulation and global governance, trade unions across the world are today delivering a common set of demands to their national governments. The five-point union plan, which includes detailed policy proposals, sets out the actions needed to tackle the crisis and build a fairer and more sustainable world economy for the future. It calls for:
a coordinated international recovery and sustainable growth plan to create jobs and ensure public investment;
nationalisation of insolvent banks and new financial regulations;
action to combat the risk of wage deflation and reverse decades of increasing inequality;
far-reaching action on climate change;
a new international legal framework to regulate the global economy along with reform of the global financial and economic institutions (IMF, World Bank, OECD, WTO). Read more…
Trades Union Congress General Secretary Brendan Barber will be marching on 28 March in London, and addressing the Put People First G20 rally in Hyde Park. Here he explains what the TUC and UK unions will be looking for from the G20 leaders in response to the financial crisis.
Sharan Burrow is the President of the ITUC and ACTU, and will be addressing the Put People First rally on 28 March 2009 in Hyde Park. Here she talks about the need for governements to decisively act for a just way out of the financial crisis.