UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

ILO issues global inequality warning

The warnings and predictions just keep on coming. Following the World Bank statement earlier this year that the rise in Global Inequality is partly due to the decline of trade unions, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has released its own warnings about accelerating global inequality. The report notes that the Global Labour Market and the nature of employment is changing significantly.
   Only 25% of workers currently have a stable, long term employment relationship with their employer. The other 75% (60% of whom do not have a contract) are exist in zero hours, self employed, part time, temporary or even intern contracts. Even in the so-called stable economies of Europe and North America over 33% of workers work in `precarious work` employment.

The ILO warns that these trends are going to continue and inequality will get worse. They identify the potential strains on the social fabric of many areas of the world and the consequences of ignoring the issues relating to inequality. They identify two areas where changes can help.

Firstly they cite the lack of employment rights as being a deep cause and that by improving workers' rights to organise and to have minimum standards we could attack inequality without causing social upheaval. They see that Governments are the main agents for this change and argue that it makes good economic sense. They analyse the way that low wage societies drag down demand and slow down the economy. Investment in infrastructure and public services has a far more impressive `multiplier` effect in an economy than tax cuts.

Secondly they see the growth of supply chain employment as an opportunity to have global standards. 20.6% of the world’s workers now work in employment that is dependent on labour in another part of the world. In this case they argue that Global standards of employment should be easier to both improve and regulate.

The ILO recommendations are not revolutionary but if implemented would change the lives of millions of workers.