Union chief stresses urgency of ‘fixing the global economy’ in scathing May Day message

May Day - Workers of the World Unite banner
Support us and go ad-free

A May Day 2019 message from the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) stresses that “we need to fix the rules of the global economy”. And one key reason, general secretary Sharan Burrow says, is that “record inequality and economic insecurity are threatening democracy”.

The current system has “left billions of people behind”

Burrow insists that:

Workers everywhere are increasingly living on the edge as corporate profits skyrocket.

“Recent decades of corporate globalisation”, she says, “have destroyed” the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) 1919 vision of a “social contract” to ensure the “social and economic conditions which would guarantee prosperity and peace”. In the process, she argues, the current system has “brought the world to the brink of environmental destruction and left billions of people behind”.

To fix this situation, she insists, we need to “liberate the trillions of dollars being hoarded in tax havens and the bank accounts of the oligarchs of corporate globalisation”; and we need to “harvest the promise of rapid technological change for the many, rather than the few billionaires who today control people’s destiny without accountability or conscience”. She also stresses that:

If we don’t get it right this time, we may never get another chance.

“A story of desperation, deprivation and rising anger”

Burrow then shares some statistics that “tell a story of desperation, deprivation and rising anger”, describing how:

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

Today there are 300 million working poor in the world, 190 million officially unemployed and 60% of workers in informal jobs. Every 11 seconds, someone somewhere dies because of hazardous and dangerous work.

Workers’ rights, she says, “are the foundations of social and economic justice”, but:

These rights are under attack in every region of the world, and the rules of global trade and finance have to change to stop the race to the bottom.

She explained this in more detail in a previous interview with The Canary.

The need for a ‘new social contract’

Burrow, therefore, stresses the need for a “new social contract”. And according to an ITUC petition, the ILO’s upcoming Centennial Declaration in June is a “once in a generation opportunity to let us fix the global economy”. For that reason, it says people should put pressure on the ILO to include in its declaration support for workers’ rights, “fairer wages”, “more oversight over their bosses”, and “building justice into the climate and technology transition”. The petition concludes:

Some bosses would rather continue with business as usual. If we raise our voices together, we can make them and governments listen.

Featured image via Flickr – Johan Fantenberg

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us