Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Saturday, September 22, 2018 06:33:36 AM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Controlling the corporate greed

Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Esther Lynch :
On October 7 every year, trade unions on every continent mark World Day for Decent Work. Workers organise through trade unions to achieve decent work: acceptable working hours, fair wages, sick pay, paid leave, etc. None of these things have been given to workers without their organising and mobilising together to demand them. In some countries they have not been achieved yet, and in others they are being stripped away.
The enemy of decent work is, and always has been, corporate greed. Excessive profits can only be made at the expense of working people, and in recent years profits have been going up while wages have been going down as a proportion of total wealth produced.
In Europe since the mid-1970s wages have been steadily falling as a % of annual wealth production  - from almost 73% to about 63% today: a fall of some 10 percentage points.
This has gone hand in hand with the construction of long and complicated global supply chains of contractors and sub-contractors providing goods and services that drive global brands - too often involving taxation avoidance and unfairly lowering wages and other costs.
At the heart of this trend is too often a refusal to recognise or negotiate with trade unions, and sometimes even banning trade union membership. Without organising together, workers are powerless to ensure decent work pay and conditions.
Today we can call out some of the European and global offenders. Let's start with a relatively small example. The banking sector in Slovakia. For over 20 years the Slovak Banking Association negotiated pay rises with trade unions. Last year profits in the sector increased over 23%, and wages went up 1%. The previous year profits had gone up by 13% and wages by 1.5%.
The unions were very modest in their demands. But this year the employers' association suddenly and unilaterally withdrew from collective bargaining. What they want instead is negotiations at company level: with some workers doing slightly better, and others no doubt very much worse. We call on the Slovak Banking Association to act responsibly and get back to the negotiating table!
Then something more abusive. Workers at the Gosa railway vehicle factory in Smederevska Palanka, Serbia, have been on strike for the last six months because they are owed 20 months' salary, and employer's social contributions have not been paid since 2014.
Then a global brand: McDonald's, the fast-food chain. In some countries, McDonald's are decent employers, in others they are not. In Denmark, they negotiate with all workers at corporate and franchised stores, they pay more than €15 per hour, give guaranteed hours per month, pay more per hour for overtime and offer paid vacation beyond the legal requirement.
In France, they negotiate only with their corporate store workers, pay almost €10 per hour, stipulate the normal hours of work, and pay extra per hour for overtime. In the UK, McDonald's do not have a collective agreement with workers and do not negotiate with a union over working conditions.
As a result, pay is lower than in Denmark and France, there are no guaranteed hours for their more than 80,000 workers on zero-hour contracts and there is no extra pay for overtime. Ryanair is another company that refuses to recognise or negotiate with trade unions. Famous for being "low-cost", its wages are certainly low, which is why it is now cancelling so many flights as it loses pilots to airlines that do recognise unions and pay decent wages.
The profits generated by global brands are enormous, and could easily cover modest pay rises that would make a big difference for working people in Europe and elsewhere.
New figures from the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) show that Swiss food giant Nestle's gross profit of $46 billion (€39 bn) would be reduced by only $2 if it paid an extra €42.55 per month to workers in its supply chains. With additional cash holdings of $14.8 billion (2014) Nestle could easily afford a pay rise for its 339,000 company employees and 4.1 million supply chain workers.
Similarly, tech giant Samsung's gross profit of $70 billion (€59.3 billion) would be reduced by only $1 billion if it paid an extra $50 (€42.55) per month to workers in its supply chains. The cut in profit is barely significant, the difference to working people's lives would be substantial. Samsung does not allow trade unions in its own company - or in its suppliers! It's hi-tech with medieval practices and conditions!
It's for all of these reasons that trade unions demand on World Day of Decent Work - on October 7 - to 'end corporate greed' and 'the world needs a pay rise'. To achieve that pay rise we employers to sit down with trade unions to collectively bargain for pay and conditions.
It's the minimum working people deserve - in Europe, in Asia and around the world. The EU should be encouraging collective bargaining - not undermining it in economic policy recommendations as they have in the past.
(Esther Lynch is ETUC's Confederal Secretary).

Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

Rohingya crisis: UN is helpless without active cooperation of int'l community

THE United Nations was established with a mission to stop brutality and promotion of human rights across the globe but at present is apparently helpless to stop the Myanmar military atrocity on Rohingya ethnic community. Though the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the ...

Cricket »

India rout Pakistan by eight wickets in Asia Cup

AFP, Dubai :India crushed Pakistan by eight wickets in their long-awaited Asia Cup match which failed to live up to its hype in Dubai on Wednesday.Pace spearhead Bhuvneshwar Kumar (3-15) and part time off-spinner Kedar Jadhav (3-23) sent Pakistan, who won the toss and batted, collapsing to just 162 all ...

Football »

We aim to play SAFF U-16 Women's final: Choton

Bangladesh U-18 national women's football team head coach Golam Rabanni Choton said they aim to play the final of the SAFF U-18 Women's Championship which is scheduled to be held from September 28 to October 7 in Thimpu, Bhutan.He was speaking at a pre-departure press conference on Thursday at the ...

International »

US-North Korea relations making 'tremendous progress': Trump

President Donald Trump on Wednesday said US relations with North Korea are making "tremendous progress" from the days before his presidency when the two countries appeared close to "going to war."Trump said a recent letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un confirmed the positive track, which he said has ...

City »

Newly elected executive members of Bangladesh Photo Journalists Association paid a courtesy call on Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan at his ministry on Thursday.

Entertainment »

Not always necessary to do issue-based films: Yami Gautam

Actress Yami Gautam, who stars in Batti Gul Meter Chalu, says it is neither necessary nor possible for an actor to do issue-based films all the time. Yami was interacting with the media here on Wednesday at a promotional press conference of the film that releases on Friday. She was ...

Football »

Japanese MMA star Norifumi 'Kid' Yamamoto dies at 41

Tributes flowed Wednesday for charismatic Japanese Mixed Martial Artist ( MMA) Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto, who died at age 41, three weeks after announcing a battle with cancer.Born to a family of wrestlers and martial artists, the wiry, tattoo-covered Yamamoto took on larger opponents in a wide range of MMA events, ...

Editorial »

Ecological danger for destroying forest by Rohingyas

A STUDY has revealed that 4,300 acres of hills and forests have been razed in Cox's Bazar to set up refugee camps and cooking fuel for Rohingyas who fled ethnic cleansing in Myanmar. Quoting the study, news media reported that about 3,000-4,000 acres of hill land at Teknaf and Ukhia ...

International »

Kim agrees to dismantle main nuke site if US takes steps too

AP,  Pyongyang :The leaders of North and South Korea announced a wide range of agreements Wednesday which they said were a major step toward peace on the Korean Peninsula. But the premier pledge on denuclearization contained a big condition, with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un stating he'd permanently dismantle ...

International »

Sex with Trump 'least impressive' she's ever had: Daniels

Stormy Daniels, the porn star who claims to have slept with Donald Trump over a decade ago, says in her upcoming tell-all book that it may have been the "least impressive sex" she'd ever had, The Guardian reported Tuesday.In her book, "Full Disclosure," Daniels also provides a graphic description of ...

Entertainment »

I`m seen as a fierce and opinionated woman post Bigg Boss: Hina Khan

Actor Hina Khan believes Bigg Boss helped her showcase her real personality, which is that of a woman who does not shy away from speaking her mind. The actor became one of the most talked about contestants on the 11th edition of the reality TV show, which has just begun ...

City »

Dhaka University teachers formed a human chain programme on the campus on Wednesday demanding release and proper treatment of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia.

Editorial »

We welcome Islamabad for awarding Bangladeshi-origin refugees Pakistan`s nationality

PAKISTAN government has decided to grant nationality to all Pakistan-born refugees of Bangladeshi and Afghan origins staying there for decades. Prime Minister Mr Imran Khan on Sunday made this announcement during his maiden visit to Karachi, saying the Bangladeshi and Afghan refugees who were born in Pakistan would get National ...

Sports »

Argentina's Facundo Conte (left) and teammate Alexis Gonzalez celebrate during the Men's World Championships' volleyball match between Argentina and Slovenia, in Florence, Italy on Monday.

Football »

FIFA president Infantino has doubts about La Liga match in Miami

AFP, Barcelona :FIFA president Gianni Infantino has expressed concern about La Liga's proposal to stage a fixture between Girona and Barcelona in the United States.The two clubs have each approved a request submitted to the Spanish Football Federation for the match to be played at the Hard Rock Stadium in ...

Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Write a comment to this news