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Speech by PSI General Secretary on the Financial Transactions Tax

20 April, 2013
PSI general secretary Rosa Pavanelli participated in a demonstration in Washington D.C. on 20 April 2013 in favour of the Financial Transactions Tax.

Sisters and Brothers, I'm proud to be here today with our PSI affiliates from Argentina, Canada and Mexico.

I bring you greetings from more than 20 million sisters and brothers in our global union federation, Public Services International.

One year ago, I was in Chicago with 5,000 National Nurses United members and allies, sending a message to the G8 that it was time to take from the rich and give to the common good, to workers and to people.  The health and well-being of all of us are at stake.

Millions of our sisters and brothers in PSI stand with you in demanding a Robin Hood Tax here in the United States, and elsewhere in the world.

PSI has been working with members and allies to take this message to the G20 in France, to the Rio+20 Summit in Brazil, to the PSI World Congress in South Africa, and just a few weeks ago, to the World Social Forum in Tunisia.

PSI has been mobilising with the European affiliates and allies, and lobbying national governments and the European Union  to introduce a Financial Transaction Tax.

We’ve showed how a Robin Hood Tax could be used to help fund public services, and in doing so relieve millions of women and men who are denied access to fundamental rights because of the economic crisis and austerity policies.

We can now announce our first important victory.  

Eleven countries in the Eurozone have agreed to a Financial Transactions Tax, and the European Commission has recently approved a new regulation - welcomed by the trade union movement - that will enter into force in January 2014.
Those eleven countries represent two-thirds of the GDP of the European Union.  The new European Commission directive fixes the FTT at 0.1% on bonds and shares, and at 0.01% on derivatives.  These very small percentages will provide an income of 30 to 35 billion euros per year.

Like in Europe, it's also time for the U.S. to ask the financiers to pay their fair share.

As nurses, you care for people, and you care that public health care is funded properly so that it can be of high quality and affordable and accessible to all.

Quality public services such as health care, education, water and sanitation, are the basis of inclusive and democratic societies.

Investing in quality public services is the most equitable way to redistribute the wealth and ensure sustainable development and growth and good jobs.

And we know that ending poverty and inequality is the best way to build durable conditions for peace.

This is why PSI is part of a broader coalition for tax justice.

With our allies, we continue to mobilise for the Robin Hood Tax, but we need to fight for tax justice as well.  Effectively fighting against tax evasion, tax havens and poisonous financial speculation will save trillions and trillions of our dollars that are currently stolen from our economy and our communities.

Fighting for a just corporate tax system means that we push for those who are responsible for the economic crisis to pay their fair share.

Re-establishing a progressive taxation system is necessary so that capital and business pay what they owe to our communities.  Workers should not have to bear the heaviest burden.

All these measures are necessary to reduce injustice and inequalities.

Most nations would have no deficit if irresponsible corporations and the super-rich were held accountable and made to pay their fair share.

A single bank teller pays more taxes than the largest bank in America.  That's not fair.

And we must be aware that the greed and overwhelming power of the financial system and of bankers affect our economy and our democratic systems.

It's time for new ideas, new political will, and a truly democratic economic system.
It’s time to put an end to the financial speculation, and make the financiers pay for the crisis they have caused.

It’s time for all of us, for the 99% to collect our fair share!

Thank you.

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