Humanising Globalisation - the Challenge of International Intstitutions

The second day of the ITUC Founding Congress in Vienna saw trade unions turn their attention to the subject of globalization.


ITUC OnLine:

The second day of the ITUC Founding Congress in Vienna saw trade unions turn their attention to the subject of globalization.

Vienna, November 2, 2006: Speaking on the theme “Cohesion or Chaos –the Global Institutions”, Juan Somavia, the Director General of the International Labour Organisation, said today:

“The present form of globalisation is not inevitable. It is shaped by human choices and can therefore also be changed. Politics of financial markets, trade and labour markets can be changed if we see that they don’t work in the best way”.

“So far we have been told liberalise your markets and privatise the state, and you will have economic growth and create new jobs. But everyday we see that this isn’t working. With good reason we can ask, when did we vote on the Washington Consensus? When was this agenda democratically adopted? When did it get global approval? Obviously it has never gotten this,” he added.

Despite technical difficulties which prevented him from being able to participate in the panel, Pascal Lamy, the Director-General of the WTO responded to the debate calling on the new trade union international to engage in the process of improving dialogue between global institutions.

“Overall trade opening creates jobs, but this is more or less true depending on the quality of our domestic policies such as education and training. In order to improve even modestly coherence, the ILO and the WTO will publish jointly a study on the impact of trade on employment. So we are trying at our level; please make sure that the new unity which the trade union movement has shown also contributes to this improved coherence,” he said.

Delegates from ITUC affiliates engaged in the debate, citing the effects of off-shoring, the lack of protection for workers in the informal economy, youth unemployment and the danger and violence faced by many trade unionists as the daily reality of their working lives.

Tomorrow, the final day of the Founding Congress will see the election of the Secretary General and the General Council. The General Council will then convene in the afternoon and elect the President and deputy presidents of the ITUC.

For more information contact the ITUC Press Department on: +43 (0) 664 593 6190.

Created on November 1, the ITUC represents 168 million workers in 154 countries and territories and has 306 national affiliates.

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