Facing up to the Trump delusion in a world of rising inequality
Speaking on the eve of the World Economic Forum Annual meeting in Davos, UNI Global Union General Secretary Philip Jennings said the great betrayal of working people haunts Davos this year: obscene rising inequality. After 30 years of record profits business had the chance to bring prosperity for all but they have failed and are now reaping the political consequences. A century after the Russian Revolution, the people at the bottom of the economic pile are rising up again.
“The WEF’s own Global Risk Report puts rising inequality top of the list as threats to the world economy. The report underlines what we already knew – the vast income gap between the mega-rich and the working people with the sense of abandonment contributed to both the UK’s Brexit and Trump’s victory. It looks like further great deception is in prospect.
“A few days prior to his inauguration its doubtful that the populist promises on jobs and a better life for workers will be delivered. If we look at his cabinet proposals, the swamp has been drained to make place for the yachts, on this evidence Trump has the potential to become the ‘The Betrayer-in-Chief’, with over 20 million Americans about to lose their healthcare.
“We have a populist revolution where we cannot see a happy destination for our democracies. Will Davos face the facts that the economics, politics and business practices of globalization have failed to bring prosperity to all? Business appears giddy at the stock market highs, tax cuts, and promises on further deregulation from finance to labour markets. Business as usual will further aggravate our already fragile democracies and labour markets. Will the business world wake up and realise that like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz we are not in Kansas anymore?”
“There is a second revolution going on too: a digital revolution that has the potential to wreak havoc on jobs, incomes and living standards. This revolution is in the hands of a small number of powerful tech companies. These companies are currently carving up this Brave New Digital World. New platforms created are bringing a barely survivable low wage world. It appears that the race has reached the bottom.
Jennings, who is one of several union leaders attending Davos with a large contingent from civil society, said the labour movement came with a clear message: responsibility starts now and we have to change the rules of a globalization gone wrong, evidenced by the latest reports and data from WEF, the ITUC and the ILO.
Among the Labour movements demands are:
A global pay rise: Reverse the income flow to the 1% with universal social protection, minimum living wages and collective bargaining.
Jobs: Increase labour-market optimism with investment in jobs through infrastructure and the care economy.
Security at work: Reduce workplace fear with the elimination of zero hours and sham short-term contracts.
Rights, the rule of law and corporate responsibility: End the oppression in supply chains with freedom of association as a foundation for human and labour rights, and mandate due diligence across borders for big business.
Regulate the digital economy: Ensure effective regulation in the digital economy to promote employment, rights and formal business models that work for people.
Root out the cheaters: End tax fraud with the implementation of BEPS, and ensure transparency through “beneficial ownership” laws for corporate structures.
Mandate disclosure: Workers have a right to know where their pension money is invested; therefore, the Financial Stability Board recommendations must be mandated.
Just Transition: Climate action is an imperative, and the need to manage a just transition is non-negotiable.
Welcome Refugees: International cooperation for safe haven, resettlement and the right to work. Leaders must show the political courage to combat xenophobic propaganda and hate speech against migrants and refugees in national debates.
Note to editors
Philip Jennings, General Secretary of UNI Global Union, will speak at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, 17 - 20 January 2017.
As head of UNI Global Union, a powerful global union with 20 million members from 900 affiliated unions in 150 countries across the skills and services sector, Philip offers a range of compelling perspectives closely related to the theme of Davos 2017; “Responsive and Responsible Leadership”:
Jennings will take part in several sessions including Promise or Peril: Decoding the Future World of Work on Tuesday 17 January 08:15 - 09:15, Arena
Twitter: #wef17 @pjenningsUNI
Ingrid Helsingen Warner, Leidar
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