Inequality: still top of the agenda on the Magic Mountain
UNI Global Union General Secretary Philip Jennings, speaking to CNBC said Jamie Dimon’s 35% pay rise was a rotten example to working people
See video interview here
During an interview with CNBC at Davos, UNI Global Union General Secretary Philip Jennings said rising inequality remained the scourge of the planet:
“We began this week with the launch of the Oxfam Report – 62 people have the wealth of half the rest of the planet – I haven’t seen many wage rises around but the one that caught my attention was the King of Wall Street, Jamie Dimon. He’s given himself a 35% wage rise. Jamie Dimon’s pay rise is a rotten example. If that is the message coming out of Wall Street it is a cataclysmic for working people…the men and women of America have not had a real wage rise for three decades.
“When we see an upturn in the economy, 94 cents in the dollar goes to the top 1%. That creates a demand insufficiency, there is not sufficient activity and people are not investing. Business leaders are telling me they’ve got no market left. If we increase the wage level by 1% and we increase the investment level by 1%, if we refit our economies and re-examine infrastructure, we can put the swagger back, not just back in Europe but the whole world.”
On the technological revolution which is the theme of this year’s Davos, Jennings was equally forthright:
“The bottom line is that the impact of the fourth industrial revolution is significant…there is not one report that says there will be more people in work because of this technological revolution. Some of the figures are dramatic, others more modest, the Head of the World Economic Forum Klaus Schwab said seven million, other people have said one in two jobs could be “cannibalized”, others still have said that for every 10 jobs that will go one will be created.
“The fact that jobs have captured the attention of Davos now means that we have the raw materials to take to the public policy debate.
“We should consider taking the lead from the climate change report – where they talked about adaptation, mitigation and just transition to save the planet. We need to have this same framework or triangle to help people adapt, mitigate the circumstances and ensure there is a just transition.
“One in two people have no ICT skills at all; we only spend 1% of our GDP on active labour market policies and we have a terrible distribution of wealth and inequality problem which will get worse unless we pull these policy levers. It’s about better policies and the choice we have to make – business as usual is not going to help the working men and women of this planet.”