"This is an idea that NUPGE has supported for a long, long time." - NUPGE president James Clancy.
Ottawa (15 March 2010) - The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is joining the international campaign for a "Robin Hood Tax" on major banks around the globe.
The campaign has taken off in Britian and is being endorsed by millions of citizens around the world as well as organizations and groups, including the International Trade Union Federation (ITUC).
"This is an idea that NUPGE has supported for a long, long time," says NUPGE president James Clancy.
"We were supporters of the idea of a Tobin Tax on currency trading when it was first proposed many years ago.
"As the campaign for an updated Robin Hood Tax gathers momentum – and as its proponents are saying loudly and clearly to political leaders around the globe – we believe it is time to turn a crisis for the banks into an opportunity for the world. We believe it is time for action in the interest of people and the planet. I urge everyone to sign the petition and tell friends and family about this worthy campaign."
The campaign calls on G20 leaders to place a 0.05% (1/20th of 1%) tax on financial transactions, one that campaigners believe could generate £250 billion ($400 billion Cdn) a year.
Funds from the tax would used to pay for the social costs of the economic crisis, to fight global poverty, to meet global public needs such as health care and to mitigate and adapt to the impact of climate change. It would also contribute to greater stability within the financial system by reducing speculation and excessive liquidity.
Targeting speculative global activities
It would apply to all transactions that do not involve members of the public, such as bonds, derivatives (including options, forwards, futures and swaps), currencies and other speculative financial activities.
The above video posted on the Robin Hood Tax website explains in just over three minutes what the tax is, how easily banks could absorb it and how ludicrous their opposition is considering how many nations are starving for revenues to finance basic services and programs.
The video shows a banker being interrogated and cornered on the meaning of the tax and what it could accomplish, closing with a question that explains the tax in simple detail and leaves the banker speechless. In the end, he grudgingly admits that it would be a good idea.
Several leading politicians have already spoken out in favour of the tax, including British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Lobbying the G20
The purpose of the petition, being circulated by a group of organizations under the name Make Finance Work, is to send a direct and powerful message to leaders of the G20 countries around the world.
"The financial sector has caused the current historic crisis," the petition says.
"The exponential growth of the financial sector with a focus on short-term speculative gain has created a casino economy. With the bursting of the most recent bubble, millions of men and women have lost their jobs. People all over the world have been plunged further into poverty and a hundred million more people are hungry today," it adds.
"Business as usual is not an option. We urge you to decide at your next meeting in Toronto, Canada, June 26-27, 2010 to introduce a tax on financial transactions. Back your words with action."
A tax on currency trading (then known as the Tobin Tax) was first suggested by economist James Tobin in the 1970s.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE