7 years ago
Industrial transformation for creating green employments
2016 is an important year for the workers of the world. Workers in the global economy witnessed two great economic recessions which have caused job loss of one billion people and fall in real wages of another billion workers. Work is a key element of social and economic development. Jobs are also a key concern for the people around the world. Through creation of jobs and better working conditions for the people, communities and countries can lift themselves out of poverty and improve livelihoods. But it happens only when the work is decent, productive, provides fair wages and is underpinned by rights. Creation of jobs contributes directly to poverty alleviation and reduction of income inequality.
The importance of creating decent work for development and poverty eradication was recognised in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), where a specific target on full and decent employment was mentioned under the poverty goal (MDG 1b). The employment target, however, has not received the attention it deserved and remained far from being achieved, undermining global efforts to eradicate poverty and ensure sustainable human development.
The vision of all global economic and financial policies is to create a fair and just world by reducing poverty through creating employment. Development happens through jobs. Work is the way out of poverty for poor households and expansion of productive and decent employment is the way through which economies can grow and diversify. For countries at all levels of development, an adequate provision of jobs is the foundation of sustainable and growing prosperity, inclusion and social cohesion.
In today's weak and turbulent international economic environment, job creation is the highest global development priority. If we look towards Bangladesh, trafficking of women, men and children could have been stopped if we had created decent employments here.
Jobs connect people to society and the economy. Access to safe, productive and fairly remunerating work is a key instrument for individuals and families to gain self-esteem, a sense of belonging to a community and a way to make a productive contribution. Only the unemployed people can understand the pain of not getting a job.
Experience shows that world leaders, international financial institutions, world business leaders do not appear to have an inclination for full employment and poverty eradication.
How can we forget the deaths of children, women and men in the sea, torture in the jungles of the poor people who were trafficked illegally out of their countries or migrant workers who work in a hell-like workplaces? All of them left their homes only to have a decent job. How do we forget the increase of slaves in the labour market? The mighty multinational enterprises do not care for workers' problems. They have created jobs in their global chain for slaves. They do it only to maximise their profits. Greed and high profit making of world buyers compelled the creation of pre-carious work, outsourcing, contract and sub-contracting works. Whatever the big multinationals may have to say about CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), they are mostly responsible for the creation of forced labour, child labour, forced overtime, unsafe workplace, slave-like treatment, non-payment of fringe benefits, job insecurity, 12-hour work shift and rising inequality for working people. General Secretary of International Trade Union Centre (ITUC) Ms. Sharan Burrow told the world economic forum in Davos, "Working people and their families need a new business model to stop the disintegration of democracies and economies. The world needs investment and jobs." She warned, "the global economic system is not working for six billion people." The wages have fallen down drastically even in 2015 and global wage share declined from 62 per cent to 52 per cent according to the UN.
The importance of public investment in creating jobs have been neglected. A study says, "Thirty three million jobs could be created in G20 countries alone, with coordinated increases and investments in infrastructure." Global Trade Union movements have been working to create jobs in each and every country. For that we need a shift in policy. We need to formalise the informal sector in developing countries and ensure creation of quality jobs. There must be an end to precarious work and social protection must extend to all types of workers.
The workers and the people want corporate power tamed. Corporate power, profit and exploitation increasingly depend on an impoverished model of trade, notably in global supply chains - a global trade which keeps millions of workers in poverty and precarious nature and condition of work.
Industrial transformation is essential to create green employments. If government and employers want to create green jobs, a study says, there will be no shortage of jobs. As a trade union activist, this writer supports ITUC's objective for "a just transition for workers and communities" to create green jobs.
The UN has adopted a new agenda for global action - Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to transform the world by 2030. It is said that this agenda is a plan for people, planet and prosperity. Trade union activists welcome the new agenda for development. This new Action plan is apparently better than the MDGs but the success depends on the key players who lead the world community. Trade Unions must be prepared to positively contribute to the path of sustainable development. This should be our promise on May Day 2016.
The writer is General Secretary of Bangladesh Mukto Sramik Federation.