Unions challenge Private Equity greed
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Lobby and press conference in Munich - Tuesday, 26 February
UNI global union and unions from both sides of the Atlantic, including ver.di Germany, are challenging the greed of Private Equity outside the Super Return International Summit of Private Equity in Munich on 26 February.
Private equity stands accused of cutting jobs, squeezing companies and loading them with dangerous levels of debt at a time of a sharp slow down in the global economy and a drying up of new credit.
Governments around the world are already looking at raising the levels of corporate tax paid by PE groups but unions will also be pressing the owners to come clean about what tax they pay on their huge, individual incomes.
With a Titanic-theme banner, unions are warning that the PE boom around the world is based on greed, has hit workers jobs, wages and pensions, has meant a huge increase in debt for bought up companies - and poses a threat to the income of pension funds (who increasingly lend to PE groups) should a recession mean corporate bankruptcies.
At a press conference the SEIU union, United States will be reporting on the record of one of the biggest US Private Equity groups - KKR.
“We want Pension Funds to be very, very careful before committing workers’ money to Private Equity ventures,” says Philip Jennings, who is General Secretary of Swiss-based UNI global union. “The global economy is already paying a high price for those who bought into ill tested debt packages based on subprime mortgages. We now fear a crunch for the debt laden victims of Private Equity’s excesses.”
“In Germany the focus is already on the tax payments of those who head big corporations. But we also want to know how much the bosses of these PE groups earn and what tax they are paying on their individual incomes - and where.”
“It’s time for fairness in the global economy, which is being ravaged by financial locusts. We want respect for workers and their conditions, observance of collective agreements, a fair return on capital with prudent debt levels for companies and total transparency from a super-secretive PE industry.”
UNI global union has met private equity groups in the USA, the UK and France in recent months. They want these groups to sign up a code of practice that recognises workers’ rights and the need for a sustainable global economy.
“Jobs and communities depend on employment and we don’t want their companies driven to the wall by the greed of financial manipulators. Short term, super returns for some people today may mean economic devastation for others tomorrow,” said Philip Jennings.
A union lobby of the Super Return International Summit will take place at 7.30 am outside the MOC Congress Centre, Munich.
A press conference will be held at 11am at the verdi/DGB-haus at Schwanthaler Str. 64-66, München.
Philip Jennings, UNI General Secretary firstname.lastname@example.org
UNI press: email@example.com
Verdi press: firstname.lastname@example.org