‘Unemployment, root cause of social unrest’

Harbhajan Singh Sidhu, centre, general secretary, HMS, releases a souvenir during the 33rd Triennial Convention in the city on Friday. Photo: S. James  

The root causes of social unrest in many parts of the world were acute unemployment, especially youth unemployment, and income disparity, said Noriyuki Suzuki, general secretary, International Trade Union Confederation – Asia Pacific (ITUC-AP), on Friday.

Inaugurating the 33{+r}{+d}triennial convention of the Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS) here, Mr. Suzuki said that poverty eradication programmes, barring a few exceptions, had not made much impact and unemployment was assuming alarming proportions everywhere.

Absence of decent work in their home countries was forcing people to go abroad in search of livelihood. India’s impressive growth rates had not translated into decent job creation. After decades of globalisation and financial meltdown in developed countries, there was no qualitative improvement and inequality was prevailing within and across countries, Mr. Suzuki said.

Mr. Suzuki pointed out that trade unions were confronted with hostile attitude from governments and employers and cases of violation of trade union rights had become rampant. Employees were denied the right to work, which was fundamental to economic justice. “Employers now want a global workforce that is powerless and passive,” he said.

Jaap Wienen, deputy general secretary, ITUC, felt that Indian politicians did not keep their promises to workers and the government served the employers well, allowing them to be as flexible as they wanted, ignoring workers’ rights. Unfortunately, a “happy few” benefited from India’s tag as an “emerging country” and poor people did not notice any progress. “What does it mean that a GDP is increasing if 95 per cent of your population does not see any difference in its daily life,” Mr. Japp posed.

Mr. Japp said that 60 per cent of global trade was driven by big business, with a business model based on exploitation.

The global economy should serve all and not the richest. Inequality and corporate greed would come to an end if the governments defended strong labour market institutions that ensured fair distribution of wealth through minimum living wages, he said.

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Printable version | Oct 25, 2021 9:21:32 AM |

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