31 May, 2016
Brussels, 31st May 2016 (ITUC Online): Multinational companies are putting the brakes on global growth with a business model built on low wages according to a new poll from the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) released at the OECD Forum in Paris, the annual meeting of high income developed economies.
Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, ITUC said 45 percent of working families can’t participate in the economy – nearly half the population in nine of the world’s largest economies have no money to spend. We call that in-work poverty for families.”
One in ten of people their families are falling through the cracks, without enough money to cover their basic needs: housing, food and electricity.
“GDP has trebled over three decades but corporate greed has captured the wealth of workers” contribution through a model of global trade that relies on low wages, insecure and unsafe work. This is destroying the lives of working families and ironically undermining global corporations themselves as they face shrinking markets,” said Sharan Burrow.
The ITUC’s latest poll covering nine countries with 55% of global GDP and 45% of the world’s population demonstrates the failure of governments to reign in corporate greed and corruption. This has broken trust in our democracies.
* In Argentina, an overwhelming 63% of the population said that they did not have enough money for basics (14%) or that once they had covered their basics needs they had nothing left over (49%). Large percentages of the populations of France (56%) and Germany (52%) said the same.
* South Korea also has a large proportion of their population struggling to meet their basic needs, with more than one in five (22%) stating that they do not have enough money for basics like housing, food and electricity.
“The world needs a lift in income share for the 99%, with a social protection floor, a minimum wage on which people can live with dignity and strengthened collective bargaining. Nothing else will tackle inequality, kick-start economies and re-establish a measure of social justice,” said Sharan Burrow.
“Corporate greed is growing and working people and governments are the victims of a level of corruption that denies taxation dollars for health, education, pensions and other areas of social protection, a fair distribution of wealth for a minimum living wage and a share of productivity through collective bargaining.”
“When up to 94% of the workers on whom our largest companies depend for their profits through global supply chains are invisible – a hidden workforce – with the large majority on low wages, insecure and unfair work, this greed is crippling working families and crippling the global economy.”
“The world’s people know this is wrong. The ITUC Frontlines Poll 2016 found that 82% of people hold companies accountable for the actions of their subcontractors and that 77% of people want companies to be open and transparent about their subcontractors,” said Sharan Burrow.
The 2016 ITUC Frontlines poll of nine G20 economies including Argentina, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, South Korea, UK, USA found:
* Regional inequalities in financial situations are also stark within countries, particularly India and Argentina.
* Young people in particular are struggling to meet their basic needs.
* However those aged 45-54 are also struggling to get by, at a time when they have the greatest responsibilities (children and caring for parents).
* Overall, women are struggling more than men to meet their basic needs.
“Ending corporate greed requires respect for workers’ rights, a minimum wage on which people can live with dignity, collective bargaining and social protection, backed by the rule of law”, said Sharan Burrow.
Read the 2016 ITUC Frontline Poll on Wages and Inequality http://www.ituc-csi.org/ituc-frontlines-poll-2016-special-17327
Read the 2016 ITUC Frontline Poll on Supply Chains http://www.ituc-csi.org/ituc-frontlines-poll-2016-special
The ITUC Frontline Poll was carried out by TNS Opinion 14 – 22 April 2016.