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Davos 2008: Creating Decent Jobs - Re-regulating Financial Markets
Statement of Labour Leaders to the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2008 - Davos, Switzerland, 23-27 January 2008



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As the global economy falters workers and their families suffer

1. Economic growth throughout the world is set to take a hit, with recessions a real possibility in some major economies. The stockmarket plunges in recent days underline the fragile state of the global economy, and the failure of policy makers to heed danger signs which have been present for some time. The losers are the workers whose real wages have declined over the last half a decade and the homeowners who are forced to leave their residence, not the bailed-out bankers and financiers who triggered the crisis. As the global economy, primarily in the OECD area, takes a downturn, the people in both developing and developed countries who have lost out on the last decades of globalisation and technological development will see their misfortune manifested in the era’s new social structures. Income is distributed ever more unevenly, with income inequality rising sharply in both developed and developing economies, creating new divides between capital and labour as well as between a small elite of top income earners earners and the rest. At the same time, the people behind the new face of capitalism –
private equity managers, hedge funds and a rising number of traditional business people – are reintroducing anachronistic forms of corporate governance, where hierarchies are sharpened and worker management cooperation to build sustainable firms and workplaces abandoned. In employee-employer relations, dialogue is being replaced with diktat. And in the distribution of the fruits of joint work, the principle of fair sharing is out, swapped with that of the owners and managers of capital taking it all.

2. If the global economy is to regain its strength, become more sustainable, and be able to overcome the challenges of climate change, cooperative labour relations must be restored. Global labour is committed to its role in this equation. In the following it sets out where it sees the largest need for action and what it proposes as the first collaborative steps and solutions. ...

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