|Finance union leaders met in Montevideo, Uruguay on the 1 & 2 December to share innovative ideas and best practices from the continent to respond to the crisis.|
The 3rd conference of UNI Americas Finance took place in Montevideo, gathering around 60 union leaders from the continent, who adopted an ambitious action plan to break through the impacts of the global financial crisis, in an atmosphere of both solidarity and professionalism.
Up to now, the finance sector in Latin America has been rather protected from the devastating impacts of the global financial sector. But there is a greater risk of recession in the region with the deepening of the crisis in Europe and in the US. The economies in the Latin American countries are slowing down, with the decrease (in volumes and prices) of exports towards Northern countries, the reduction of capital investments, and the restructuring taking place in large multinational banks, which have branches in Latin America.
The financial system in Latin America is more resilient than in Europe because the banks have been less exposed to risky derivative investments and they have more margin in terms of capital ownership. The level of internal consumption demand is also still high, boosting the economy, in spite of the decreasing exports. The trade unions also play a very important, pushing their governments to adopt economic policies which support internal demand and additional cash flows, contrary to the austerity measure which have been adopted in Europe. The European trade union movement has a lot to learn from its Latin American colleagues.
The participants adopted an action plan which aims at strengthening the solidarity networks of trade unions across the continent, to increase their bargaining power and negotiate strong collective agreements with the multinational companies which are present in various countries (for example, HSBC, Itaú, Banco de Brasil, Banco Columbia).