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The TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady has today (Tuesday) written to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Dominic Raab, to express her “deep concern” over the government’s reported support of Mathias Cormann in the OECD leadership race due to his poor track record on climate change and workers’ rights.  

Reports in the international press have recently suggested that Cormann is the favoured candidate by the UK government.  

In the letter, O’Grady highlights Cormann’s stint in government in Australia, in which he “presided over severe wage stagnation, attacks on trade union rights and a rise in insecure work”. 

The TUC General Secretary also raises Cormann’s poor record on climate change. As a senior minister in the Abbott Government, Cormann attempted to abolish the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.  

O’Grady says that “supporting this candidate would send the wrong message in a year when the UK is hosting COP26 and should be showing global leadership in this area”. 

She adds that by missing the opportunity to support the first female general secretary of the OECD in its history, “the UK government would again be failing to put its professed values into practice”.  

In its G7 leadership goals, the UK has expressed a strong desire to promote gender equality as a core principle of policy. 

O’Grady calls on the UK government to instead back a candidate “committed to enhancing workers' rights, tackling climate change and advancing gender equality as a key part of building back better”. 

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:  

“The OECD Secretary General is an authority on international economic policy and provides crucial leadership on the global stage. With huge economic and climate challenges afoot, it’s vital the right candidate gets the job. 

“Cormann’s track record on climate change, workers’ rights and his promotion of regressive economic policies should be a red flag to ministers.  

“Backing Cormann for the OECD leadership would be a huge own goal in the year COP26 is to be hosted on home soil. 

“And it would be a missed opportunity if the government failed to push for the body’s first female leader.” 

Editors note

- The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together more than 5.5 million working people who make up our 48 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living. 


TUC press office   
020 7467 1248  

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