Failure to tame corporate power threatens global recovery, says ITUC

By agency reporter
20 May 2014

Workers across the world are losing their faith in national governments who they believe are putting the interests of big corporations ahead of their own, according to a new global poll published on 18 May by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).

Released on the opening day of the third ITUC world congress in Berlin, the poll, conducted for the ITUC by market research company TNS, questioned ordinary people in fourteen countries which together make up half the world’s population.

The ITUC poll showed:

- Four in ten (41 per cent) of those questioned have been unemployed, had their working hours reduced in the last two years or have a family member with a similar experience.
- More than four in five (82 per cent) say their wages have fallen behind the cost of living or remained stagnant in the past two years.
- Four in ten (41 per cent) expect their job to become less secure in the next two years and almost half (49 per cent) believe the next generation will struggle to find decent jobs.
- Over two-thirds (68 per cent) think their government is doing a bad job at tackling unemployment, almost four in five (78 per cent) think the economic system favours the wealthy, and more than half those questioned (56 per cent) rate the current economic situation in their country as bad.
- Three in five (62 per cent) believe governments should do more to tame corporate power.

Commenting on the international poll findings, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Improving economic data is all very well but the rosy picture it paints is not being felt by most ordinary people and their families.

“Hard-working households keep hearing about the global recovery but believe it must be happening to someone else as their wages still don’t seem to go far enough, they need to borrow to buy anything substantial and they stopped saving years ago.

“Where jobs are being created, too many are the insecure, zero-hour kind with erratic wages and a lack of decent prospects. Any global recovery won’t start to feel real to people at work until they can recover the spending power they lost during the crash, and employers start offering more decent, permanent jobs that have good rates of pay and a proper future.”

ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said: “The global economy needs co-ordinated action to raise living standards around the world. Seven years after the economic crisis there are still more than 200 million people unemployed and many more struggling on low wages. Meanwhile governments are in the grip of corporate power and are failing their people."

He concluded: “When people increasingly fear for the next generation, it should be a warning for governments to act. People want their governments to reduce the gap between rich and poor, ensure fair wages, and increase job security.”

[Ekk/4]

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