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Labour Visions and Strategies for the 21st Century
A Social-Democratic Document

SiD's Global Labour Summit

    Note: I picked up this document from a website http:/summit.sid.dk/ on November 21, 1997, having been alterted to it by a reference in an international trade union magazine. This was, apparently, the main document presented to the Labour Summit mentioned below. But when I checked it I found that the titles and subtitles on the front page did not match section heads in the document. I have there made an attempt to re-number them - without being certain I have got it right. But it does make this important document more accessible to possible readers. 

    I hope to later make time to give the document the critical attention it deserves. Other related materials, some equally interesting can be found on the website. Unfortunately, the site now appears to be inactive. I have not managed to get a response from the site manager. So I still donít know who actually wrote the document, and whether the conference organisers are planning to take the debate further.

    I am hoping to place this item in the discussion pages of the LabourNet website, and also hoping it will be picked up and further spread from there.

    I am, finally, toying with the idea of trying to organise a seminar or conference on new labour movement responses to globalisation, maybe mid-1998. Contact me if interested. In the meantime, maybe we could have an electronic discussion?  Peter Waterman


A New Global Agenda

Visions and Strategies for the 21st Century

SiD's Global Labour Summit

Copenhagen, 31.May - 1. June 1997

Content 
Preface by Poul Erik Skov Christensen , President of the SiD - the General Workers' Union in Denmark 

Part One : Background 

  1. A global revolution on the verge of the 21st century 
  2. The crucial role of Transnational Companies 
  3. Deterioration of workers' rights 
  4. More poverty and a further polarisation between rich and poor 
  5. Feminisation of poverty 
  6. The neoliberal wave 
  7. The labour movement on the defensive 
  8. A new global agenda 

Part Two : Proposals for a new global strategy 

  1. Build strong, independent, democratic and representative unions 
  2. Build unity nationally and internationally - a mass international 
     social movement 

Part Three: Strategic alliances 

  1. Political alliances 
  2. Alliances with NGOs 
  3. The informal sector 

Part Four: The struggle for human rights

  1. Workers' rights 
      1. Reform, restructuring and strengthening of the Ilo 
      2. A global campaign for the inclusion of workers' rights in the WTO 
      3. Tripartism 
  2. Women's rights 
  3. Children's rights and a global campaign against child labour 

Part Five: How to cope with the Transnational Companies 

1. A common strategy
2. Export Processing Zones
3. The political consumer / the political enterprise 

Part Six: Trade and development 

  1. Trade 
  2. Development policies 
  3. The environment and occupational health and safety 
  4. UN policies 
  5. The debt crisis and Structural Adjustment Programmes 

Part Seven: Information and media strategy 

Part Eight: Seeking a viable alternative to neoliberalism with focus on social development and equity 
 

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                                  PREFACE 

                       by Poul Erik Skov Christensen 

          President of SiD, the General Workers' Union in Denmark 
------------------------------------------------------------------- 

The present document "A new global agenda" is the result of SiD, the 
General Workers' Union in Denmark's Global Labour Summit which was held in Copenhagen, Denmark on the 31st of May and 1st of June, 1997. 

The purpose of the document is to focus on central issues in connection with globalization, and it is first and foremost the objective as labour 
movement to give a global proposal for visions and strategies for the 21st century. 

It is also the objective with "A new global agenda" to strengthen the role of the labour movement internationally and in the various countries with some proposals for the future where the task will be to put people, the  environment, democracy and social development on the agenda. A task which the market forces cannot handle. On the contrary, it requires solidarity and common solutions in each country and worldwide between countries. 

With the document it is our ambitious goal that we - together with the
initiatives that the ICFTU - the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions - and the International Trade Secretariats already have taken and take - can contribute to setting the agenda for the next century. 

The Global Labour Summit was not a formal democratic forum in the 
international trade union / labour movement - nor a congress. Therefore, formally it is also only SiD as organiser that can be responsible for the content, but from the debate at the Summit it was obvious that there was a broad consensus on the document which has been prepared by an international preparatory group. 

It is our hope that " A new global agenda" can be a useful tool for the 
labour movement in the various countries and jointly internationally in 
order to set the agenda for the 21st century. 

Content 
------------------------------------------------------------------- 

                                 PART ONE: 

                                 BACKGROUND 
------------------------------------------------------------------- 

1.1. A global revolution on the verge of the 21st century 

A global revolution is taking place on the verge of the 21st century. A 
global revolution - comparable only to the industrialization process in the last century - yet more comprehensive and faster than anything we have experienced before. 

The technological revolution that has taken place during the last 10 to 20 years has meant an unprecedented development in the field of transport, communication, and the media. The drastic liberalization of capital movements and of trade which began in the 80s was further enhanced with the collapse of the Berlin Wall. With the end of the Cold War the traditional blocks disappeared and the road was open for a further globalization of the market. A completely new economic and political system came into existence. New countries adhered to market economy and opened up their markets to international trade. The world has become one big market where competitiveness is the order of the day. In reality, trade policy has taken over the role that security policy had in the Cold War days. Regional economic blocs such as NAFTA, the European Union and ASEAN have become leading actors on the economic scene. 

1.2. The crucial role of Transnational Companies 

Completely new structures are emerging within companies, who must seek new alliances, joint ventures or subcontractors abroad in order to survive. But 
the most crucial development in the last decades has been the enormous 
expansion of Transnational Companies - TNCs, who have come to play a 
decisive economic and even political role. For the TNCs the world has 
become not only one global market - but one global labour market. With 
their huge investments - twice the size of the entire development 
assistance to developing countries and some of the hugest TNCs with yearly 
sales that can compare in size to the GDP of certain countries - they are 
looking for countries with the cheapest labour and places where fundamental 
labour rights are not respected, thus setting off a downward spiral of 
deteriorated labour standards. 

The expansion of Export Processing Zones - the paradise for TNCs with cheap 
labour, appalling working conditions, no health and safety measures, and no 
respect for even the most basic ILO Conventions - is a clear example of the 
lack of respect of TNCs for basic workers' rights. But it also shows the 
cooperation between the governments in the host countries and the TNCs and 
these governments' willingness to sacrifice core labour standards for the 
sake of attracting foreign investors and creating the lowest standard jobs. 

1.3. Deterioration of workers' rights 

Globalization has, thus, to a large extent been shaped by, and in the 
interest of, international investors. These investors have found a new 
voice in the elites of the Third World. These voices argue against the 
observance of trade union rights, against the abolition of child labour, 
against the end to discrimination and against the end to forced labour. 

Workers in most of these developing countries have been fighting for 
survival and to win basic rights. Their governments are often ruthless in 
their disregard for and repression of democratic, human and trade union 
rights. They use the argument that they need to defer rights and 
improvements in working conditions in order to catch up with "advanced 
nations". 

But even in the so-called "advanced" countries with long trade union 
traditions we experience a deterioration of labour standards and measures 
being adopted to weaken or undermine the trade unions for the sake of the 
global competitiveness. Thus, the governments in these countries are trying 
to emulate the practices of the developing nations using competition from 
the developing nations as the excuse for dismantling the rights and working 
conditions which workers have been struggling so hard for over a century to 
achieve. 

In this way governments of different countries are using each other as 
excuses for turning back the clock and to undo the hard-won rights and 
standards, turning the workers of one country against those of another. 

The globalization process is altogether undermining the concept of the 
national state. National policies are becoming more and more dependent upon 
international trends and decisions taken at international levels without 
any democratic control. In reality governments are losing their power to 
decide their own national economic and social policies. 

1.4. More poverty and a further polarisation between rich and poor 

On the whole, globalization has certainly not meant less poverty or more 
equality in the world - neither within the countries, nor between North and 
South. On the contrary, we have experienced a worldwide economic crisis, 
enormous social problems, especially poverty, unemployment, underemployment 
and social exclusion. We have seen a further polarisation between rich and 
poor with the expansion of prosperity for some accompanied by an expansion 
of unspeakable poverty for others. Poverty, unemployment and social 
disintegration that too often result in isolation, marginalization and 
violence. In many countries the crime rates have thus reached alarming 
heights. 

40% of the world's population exists in abject poverty on less than one 
dollar a day. More than 700 million people worldwide are not productively 
employed. Many are underemployed and millions of young people have little 
hope of ever finding productive work. At the same time we experience an 
increase in the totally unacceptable use of child labour which is one of 
the most terrible violations of the rights of the child to a decent 
childhood and to education. 

1.5. Feminisation of poverty 

The economic crisis has hit women especially hard. More women than men live 
in absolute poverty and the imbalance continues to grow. Furthermore, with 
the global economic crisis discrimation against women is growing and has in 
reality never been stronger. Millions of women have no access to education 
or training, health care, income or credit. And the cuts in education, 
health and other social services have further weakened their chances of a 
decent life. Women get the least skilled jobs and with the growing 
unemployment they are also the first to lose their jobs and the last ones 
to find a new one. We are in fact experiencing a feminisation of poverty. 

Furthermore, we often see a total lack of understanding of women's role in 
society and the potential they constitute for the development of their 
countries. Disgracefully, we still often find this attitude in the trade 
union movement as well. 

1.6. The neoliberal wave 

The neoliberal wave that has swept the world since the end of the 70s with 
focus on uncontrolled market economy, competitiveness, jobless growth, 
deregulations, privatisations and cutting down on crucial social sectors 
has certainly only further contributed to the polarisation within and 
between countries. The neoliberal policies have also often been accompanied 
by the adoption of anti-trade union legislation, undermining of trade union 
rights and repression of trade union leaders and activists on the spurious 
grounds that they represent obstacles to economic development. 

In the industrialized countries the neoliberal wave was a serious and 
dangerous attack on the welfare systems. 

The neoliberal policies followed also by the international financial 
institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank have had drastic social 
consequences in many developing and transitional countries who continue to 
be forced to follow the policies imposed upon them in order to get further 
loans to encounter the debt crisis that most of these countries experience. 
Thus, governments in these countries have lost their autonomy and have no 
way of deciding the development within their own boundaries. In some new 
democracies that have been through years of bloody civil war the policies 
of the IMF and the World Bank can become a real threat to the 
democratisation processes, when the broad population becomes more and more 
frustrated at the lack of development and social improvements. 

But the neoliberal wave is spent. We have seen that the neoliberalistic 
policies just do not work. The population in an increasing number of 
countries is rejecting these policies and demanding a much more human and 
socially just development. 

1.7. The labour movement on the defensive 

The collapse of the political and economic systems in the Soviet Union and 
Eastern and Central Europe at the beginning of the 90s further weakened the 
opponents of the conservative policies. Many socialist and labour parties 
in developing countries were left bewildered and split. In industrialized 
countries Social Democratic / Socialist and labour parties tried to 
distance themselves from the socialist ideology and sought the support of 
the growing middle class often adhering more and more to the economic 
policies of the neoliberal movement. 

Conservative and liberal parties did not hesitate to proclaim that no 
alternative was now left to political and economic conservatism. And a weak 
and often split Socialist International - the SI - has not been able to 
gather the forces and to create one big social movement to stand up against 
neoliberalism and to face the new globalization process. The SI has been on 
the defensive, seeking but not finding viable common alternative 
strategies. 

Trade unions have also been on the defensive looking for new visions to 
defend their rights in the new globalisation process. We must also admit 
that disgracefully there is a general tendency towards trade unions being 
weak, split, divided politically and often fighting each other rather than 
standing together in their struggle for a common goal. Repressive measures 
and a growing lack of understanding of the role of trade unions have 
further weakened the trade union movement. In many countries trade union 
membership has fallen to alarming low levels. 

Originally, the labour movement was international, but it seems that this 
century there has been a tendency towards trade unions and labour parties 
being more concerned with their national issues and seeking national and 
not international solutions at the very time that power is shifting away 
from national structures to the international level where transnational 
corporations and international financial institutions operate. 

But time has come to change the development. As trade unions we must use 
the positive new tendency of rejecting the neoliberalistic policies and the 
optimism to make our voices heard for a new global social development, for 
democracy and human rights and for the improvement of workers' rights 
everywhere in the world. 

1.8. A new global agenda 

We must never forget that globalization is a social process driven by human 
beings and human interests - and not some natural phenomena imposed upon 
us. Therefore, we are also in a position to shape this globalization 
process, to control and change it to a much more human, socially balanced 
and sustainable development. A development that is not controlled by the 
market forces, but controlled by human beings where focus is on people and 
the environment. 

Economic activities are a fundamental basis for social progress. But social 
progress cannot be realized simply through the free interaction of market 
forces. Public policies are necessary to correct market failures, to 
complement market mechanisms, to maintain social stability and to create a 
national and international economic environment that promotes sustainable 
growth on a global scale. And such growth must promote equity and social 
justice, tolerance, responsibility and involvement. 

Time has come for a turning point. Time has come for the trade unions to 
use the positive sides of globalization to the advantage of workers and 
poor people all over the world. Time has come to change our own defensive 
attitude and to bring ourselves in the offensive nationally and 
internationally. 

And time has come to make governments live up to their commitments. 

"Social development and social justice are indispensable for the 
achievement and maintenance of peace and security within and among our 
nations. In turn, social development and social justice cannot be attained 
in the absence of peace and security or in the absence of respect for all 
human rights and fundamental freedoms." (From the Copenhagen Declaration on 
Social Development.) 

And let's also quote from one of the many commitments: 

Put the creation of employment, the reduction of unemployment and the 
promotion of appropriately and adequately remunerated employment at the 
centre of strategies and policies of Governments, with full respect for 
workers' rights and with the participation of employers, workers and their 
respective organizations, giving special attention to the problems of 
structural, long-term unemployment and underemployment of youth, women, 
people with disabilities, and all other disadvantaged groups and 
individuals; 

Develop policies to ensure that workers and employers have the education, 
information and training needed to adapt to changing economic conditions, 
technologies and labour markets; 

Pursue the goal of ensuring quality jobs, and safeguard the basic rights 
and interests of workers and to this end, freely promote respect for 
relevant International Labour Organization conventions, including those on 
the prohibition of forced and child labour, the freedom of association, the 
right to organize and bargain collectively, and the principle of 
non-discrimination. (From the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development, 
Commitment 3.) 

Those were some of the key declarations and commitments made at the UN 
Social Summit in Copenhagen in March 1995 when governments from all over 
the world for the first time focused on social development. But the 
question is how much has been accomplished since then? Have we seen crucial 
differences in policies? 

Governments must be made to live up to their commitments. We must make 
governments and employers realize that the biggest threat to peace today is 
poverty, the millions of people without a job and social conflicts. They 
must come to realize the need for a much more equitable development on a 
national as well as a global level. 

As the biggest mass democratic movement in the world trade unions must stop 
being on the defensive and look for positive new visions and strategies to 
change the scene. It is our duty indeed not only to look at improving 
workers' conditions in our sectors and individual countries, but to get 
real influence on the overall national and global development. 

We must be able to use the positive perspectives of globalization and use 
them to the advantage of workers all over the world. With the globalization 
process there will also be an increased demand from the world population 
for more social justice, for more equality, for social welfare and for 
respect for democracy and basic human and trade union rights. 

Threats to human well-being such as environmental risks have also been 
globalized. Only global solutions and concerted action at national and 
international level will be able to help improve our crucial environment. 

There is an alternative to the neoliberal wave, and there is an alternative 
to the uncontrolled market forces and a possibility of achieving social 
equity and equal rights and opportunities for everybody in societies based 
upon justice, democracy and the respect for human rights. After all it is a 
question of men's and women's opportunities in life. We must still believe 
and prove that democratic socialism is the viable alternative. 

We must use the technological advances for much more effective interaction 
between trade union organisations all over the world in order to be able to 
ensure cooperation and solidarity and to use each other's experiences. We 
must take concerted action towards the international media to denounce 
violations of workers' rights and to make our voices heard around effective 
global campaigns for our rights as workers and human beings. 

We must look for better cooperation with and influence in political 
parties, while at the same time securing our independence as trade unions. 

Cooperation and strategic alliances on specific issues should be sought 
with NGOs, consumer groups, environmental groups, women's and youths' 
organisations. 

We must make effective campaigns for the inclusion of workers' rights in 
the World Trade Organisation, for more effective measures to ensure the 
respect for core ILO conventions, for the right to organise and to have 
collective agreements in Export Processing Zones, for an end to 
discrimination and for the respect of women's rights as well as campaigns 
against global child labour. 

We must use our global strength to force TNCs to have much more ethical and 
moral standards, to respect workers' rights, to have codes of conduct and 
to accept the establishment of international works councils. TNCs are 
indeed vulnerable to consumer pressures, they can be influenced. We must 
use this new political awareness in consumer groups to force enterprises to 
accept and respect labour standards and to improve working conditions 
globally. 

We must establish new global networks for the trade unions and for trade 
union shop stewards. We must emphasize the need for much more information, 
interaction and exchange of experiences between our trade union 
organisations and shop stewards around the world concerning collective 
agreements. 

We must set strategies to influence national and international policies 
towards people-centered and social development and job-creating growth. 
Effective tripartite cooperation at national and international levels must 
be a specific goal. 

But, first and foremost, we must organise and unite - nationally and 
internationally - in order to become one huge global labour movement that 
can be in a position to alter the globalization process towards a global 
welfare system that respects democracy and basic human and trade union 
rights. 

Thus, we propose to focus on the following eight points for concrete steps 
for strategies towards the 21st century. 

Content 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

                                 PART TWO: 

                    PROPOSALS FOR A NEW GLOBAL STRATEGY 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

1. Build strong, independent, democratic and representative unions 

It is time again to give first priority to organising nationally and 
internationally. We must build strong, independent, democratic and 
representative unions. In far too many countries unions are only 
representing a very small percentage of the potential members. Even in 
industrialized countries with long trade union traditions we see the 
percentage of organised workers dropping to alarming low levels. In many 
countries employer-instigated unions or employer initiatives with focus on 
individualism with personal advantages to workers and on loyalty and 
responsibility towards the enterprise are appearing with the purpose of 
smashing the genuine unions and of undermining our basic principles of 
solidarity, equality and cooperation. 

We must make workers understand the need to be organized and the role of 
the trade unions. We must make them accept to pay membership fees in order 
to secure well-functioning unions who must strive to become self-sufficient 
financially. 

But in order to make workers feel a close relationship to the union, they 
must be able to feel that the union belongs to them and that they are able 
to participate actively and influence trade union policies. This calls for 
genuine democratic, transparent and accountable organisations with 
responsible leaders. 

Special focus must be put on continued information and education activities 
at all levels of our organisations in order to secure well-trained 
national, regional and local leaders and shop stewards who are able to 
respond to the needs of the members and to involve them actively in the 
policies and activities of the unions. 

Special efforts should be made to set strategies to organise the expanding 
informal sector in developing countries. 

It is important to build strong independent unions that are not led by a 
political party or the government. This does not, however, mean that there 
cannot be a close relationship to one or more political parties. On the 
contrary, trade unions are per se also political organisations and they 
certainly also have a role to play in shaping the societies in which they 
function as the biggest mass organisations. Therefore, a relationship of 
some kind to one or more political parties with the same basic ideology is 
crucial in order to get influence on the political scene, on overall 
economic, social and labour market policies, in the Parliament and in the 
government. But it must never impede our possibilities of critizicing even 
our own allies if they fail to implement policies that are socially 
balanced and to the benefit of workers. 

In our efforts to strengthen trade union organisation nationally and 
internationally we must be able to use the new communication technology to 
establish an efficient global labour information network through which we 
are able to cooperate, to exchange information for example on organising 
efforts, collective agreements, codes of conduct and tripartite 
cooperation, to improve work in the works' councils, to denounce violations 
of workers' rights, to exchange education programmes and to spread mass 
information throughout the world on the need and role of trade unions. 

This global labour information network should not be a centralised, 
expensive system, but a network that is coordinated globally, but run and 
financed in a decentralised way. 

2. Build unity nationally and internationally - a mass international social 
movement 

In many countries - industrialized as well as developing - trade unions are 
still split due to political ideology, religious or ethnic reasons. This 
weakens the trade union organisations and only serves the purpose of the 
employers. In this way trade unions use their energy to combat each other 
instead of serving their common purpose. The only way that unions can 
become a real mass organisation representative of the members is if they 
unite in the common struggle for the interest of the workers. And the only 
way that we can secure that governments take account of trade unions and 
that they can play a real effective role in the development of their 
societies is if the trade union movement is strong and united. A first step 
could be common actions to pave the road for unity. 

Also at international level we still see a division between the various 
international trade union organisations - despite the developments on the 
international scene the last ten years and the end of the Cold War - and 
far too many crucial non-aligned trade unions that do not want to adhere to 
any of the existing international organisations due to political, personal 
or historical reasons. These divisions must be overcome. For the first time 
ever we have a historic opportunity to overcome our differences and make 
one big united movement. It is crucial that we take this chance and unite 
as workers for common actions and campaigns for workers' rights and against 
the neoliberal policies of governments and international institutions that 
threaten our basic principles. 

The International Trade Secretariats have a vital role to play in their 
various sectors in order to unite workers across the world and to work for 
respect for trade union rights and better working conditions within their 
branches. However, considering their global role to represent workers 
across the world their human and economic resources should be strengthened. 
Further mergers within the ITS' should be considered in order to have 
stronger and more effective organisations. 

It should be recognized that the ICFTU - the International Confederation of 
Free Trade Unions - and the ITS' have been the first to put globalization 
and its implications for workers' rights on the agenda. However, we must 
all strengthen our efforts to bring this debate out of the closed circles 
of decision-makers in these organisations and to secure that the issue is 
taken up and discussed at every level of our national organisations. 

We must continue to be critical of our international organisations, and 
find new ways to meet challenges. We must secure that organisations from 
developing countries have their part of influence on the structures and 
policies. It must be secured that women and young people have much better 
representation in the international trade union organisations. We must work 
to have effective, democratic and representative international trade union 
organisations that can really be the voice of millions and millions of 
workers across the world. This is the only way we can build an effective 
and strong international mass social movement that is able to influence 
national and international policies and that can make our voices heard and 
understood. 

But the question is really whether our national unions, the labour parties, 
sister organisations within the labour movement such as educational and 
humanitarian organisations as well as our international organisations are 
really geared at present to face the new challenges or whether there is a 
pressing need for restructuring of the whole labour movement. 

3. Strategic alliances 

3.1. Political alliances 

As mentioned trade unions are of course also political organisations 
concerned with the overall political, economic and social development in 
their respective countries as well as the global political and economic 
situation. 

It is, therefore, vital that trade unions are able to establish alliances 
with political parties, while at the same time maintaining their 
independence as autonomous organisations. 

We must also secure influence in these political parties. We have in many 
countries seen a growing lack of confidence in politicians and lack of 
interest in political parties. The organisation percentages are falling to 
alarming low standards, while at the same time environmental organisations 
and other NGOs are able to attract far more support in public opinion. It 
is a general tendency towards democratic demobilisation which poses a 
dangerous threat to the basis of democracy. 

It is crucial that workers organise in political parties and that trade 
unions are able to influence the political process. 

We also experience how individualism is growing at the expense of our basic 
principles of solidarity and fraternity. Often it is the media with their 
focus on personalities and on specific cases that are able to set the 
political agenda and not the political parties. This further enhances the 
tendency towards the focus on political personalities rather than on 
political ideology. Today it seems to be more important to have a 
charismatic political leader, than to focus on ideology or a political 
programme. 

Furthermore, we see a growing tendency towards even labour parties being 
run predominantly by academics and technocrats who often have no contact 
with workers and no knowledge or understanding of the problems at the 
workplace. We must therefore secure that we not only cooperate with the 
labour parties, but that we are able to influence them from the inside by 
being active in the parties, putting candidates for election at all levels 
of local, regional and national politics. This is the only way that we can 
secure workers' interests in the political parties. 

Alliances with political parties should also be strengthened at regional 
and international levels in order to promote our chances of handling the 
tasks of the future. 

3.2. Alliances with NGOs 

NGOs are an important voice in civil society. As trade unions we must be 
more open to enter into strategic alliances not only with our political 
allies, but with NGOs such as women's and youth organisations, social 
welfare, development and human rights, and environment and consumer 
organisations, who share our general objectives. In many cases these 
organisations while focusing on a very few relevant issues are able to make 
better and more effective campaigns, better to attract international media 
attention and to lobby for their goals than trade unions have been in the 
past. They can become important partners if we are able to secure a good 
cooperation and to put our objectives as workers on the agenda. 

This could be in the common struggle for the respect of human rights, for 
workers' rights, women's rights, and for specific rights within sectors. 

However, we must also be aware that most NGOs do not have the democratic 
structures that we have in trade unions, nor do they often have a 
membership to respond to. NGO interests can also fluctuate. Therefore we 
must never rely totally upon these tendencies, but use them as a means of 
cooperation and strengthening our own struggle. 

3.3. The informal sector 

As unemployment grows, so does an already vast informal sector where 
workers are rightless and unprotected. The unemployed, casual workers, 
agricultural workers and landless peasants, migrant and domestic workers 
are largely unorganised. National and international trade unions must 
develop strategies to reach out to these millions of workers and assist 
them in their efforts to become organised. 

To achieve these objectives, trade unions will have to form alliances with 
the existing organisations in these sectors, grassroot organisations and 
NGO's. 

4. The struggle for human rights 

The fight for human rights has always been an integral part of the trade 
unions' and the labour movement's struggle. Democracy, freedom, justice and 
equality have been the basic values upon which our movement was founded - 
values that we have considered as fundamental principles in order to 
satisfy the basic economic, social and political needs of people. 

Today - more than 50 years after the end of World War II when the world 
united in a common demand for peace, democracy and human rights after the 
incredible atrocities of the war and almost half a century after the 
adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - we still see how 
grossly human rights are violated across the world. 

Military dictatorships, despotic and autocratic regimes are still in power 
in many parts. Poverty and unemployment deprive millions of people of their 
human dignity and their most basic rights. Hundreds of millions of people 
still lack minimally acceptable levels of education, health and nutrition 
and more than one billion people in the world live in abject poverty. And 
the majority of these are women. 

Poverty, wars and conflicts throw millions of people into the search for 
safer and better places to live. At the same time many countries in the 
industrialized world - where intolerance, xenophobia and racism are 
reappearing to show their ugly faces - close their borders and strengthen 
their asylum policies to keep out the poor masses who could threaten their 
own societies. 

Social and economic rights, workers' rights, women's rights and children's 
rights are today generally accepted as being part of the fundamental human 
rights - at least in theory. Today we have more than 20 UN Conventions on 
fundamental human rights including the two central UN Conventions on 
economic, social and cultural rights as well as civic and political rights, 
and many special conventions on discrimination based upon gender, race and 
religion as well as all the ILO Conventions on workers' rights. 

Globalisation and neoliberalism further threaten to undermine human rights. 
As we have mentioned, it has certainly not meant more equality neither 
within or between nations. Furthermore, there is a general tendency towards 
the undermining of workers' rights in the name of "free market" ideologies 
and social Darwinism. 

The positive aspect of globalisation is that due to the global media today 
it is much easier to spread news of human rights violations and to raise 
public awareness about these cases which again has pushed politicians to 
act more seriously regarding human rights violations. The respect of human 
rights has, thus, in a large number of countries become an important part 
of the political agenda. 

As trade unions we must keep setting human rights at the top of our agenda 
and use all possible means to push our political allies to take up the 
issue. We must make our governments live up to their obligations and 
implement the commitments they have made at the many UN Summits and 
Conferences. 

We must enhance our basic principles that democracy and transparent and 
accountable governance are indispensable foundations for the realization of 
social and people-centered sustainable development. We must keep stressing 
that social development and social justice are indispensable for the 
achievement and maintenance of peace and security within and among our 
nations and that economic and social development as well as environmental 
protection are interdependent and mutually reinforcing components of 
sustainable development. Social and economic development cannot be secured 
in a sustainable way without the full participation of women and equality 
and justice between men and women must be a priority for the international 
community. 

We must push our political allies to focus on these issues and look at 
possible instruments that could be used in the common struggle for the 
respect of fundamental human rights including workers' rights. 

The question of possible reactions towards countries that grossly violate 
basic human rights certainly involves the discussion of trade and human 
rights - a discussion that has been at the forefront the last years in many 
countries. Disgracefully, we must admit that where big economic interests 
are at stake, most governments are willing to forget about the human rights 
issue and prefer to use the much more pragmatic "critical dialogue" or 
"constructive engagement". 

However, we know how little effect this has had on dictatorships like Burma 
or Iran. Just recently we saw that it was not even possible to raise 
consensus on a condemnation of the human rights situation in China. 
Economic interests and investments were far more important issues at stake 
for most countries. 

The possibilities for reactions vary from classical diplomatic reactions to 
political reactions. The basis must be an assessment of the nature and 
extent of the violations of human rights and which reactions will have most 
effect. Crucial is also the opinion of the opposition in the country in 
question. Are they calling for international sanctions as the only possible 
means to stop the violations of a dictatorship or do they prefer a further 
dialogue and interaction with other countries? 

We all know that international reactions for example sanctions adopted in 
the UN are the most effective. The lack of such international reactions or 
the impossibility to reach consensus on such steps should, however, not 
hinder individual countries in reacting. A reaction by one or a few 
countries can very well be that first step necessary to focus on the 
violations and, thus, pave the way for international reactions. 

But of course we must also be aware of the risks implied of both an 
economic and a political nature. 

The question also raises the debate of whether or not we can interfere in 
another country's internal affairs, but it does seem that there is a clear 
tendency at least in some countries towards the so-called "moral 
interventionism" winning over the non-interventionism concept. And, anyway, 
as far as the labour movement is concerned, there cannot be any "internal 
affairs" of states when human rights and democratic rights are involved, 
including, of course, workers' and trade union rights. These are universal 
rights not subject to the interpretation of governments. 

As trade unions it is our moral obligation all the time to follow the human 
rights situation in the world closely - both nationally in our 
organisations and in our international organisations. We must use the media 
and our networks to denounce violations and to put focus on those countries 
where abuses take place. We must push our political allies and governments 
to take concrete steps. 

Similarly the Social Democratic / Socialist and labour parties must focus 
on all human rights including social and economic rights and seek to 
coordinate their reactions within their international organisation, the 
Socialist International - the SI - which has 150 affiliated parties. 

Proposals for instruments for human rights: 

Unilateral reactions: 

  1. Diplomatic reactions - varying from informal enquiries, 
     representations, calling back of the ambassador for consultations, 
     downgrading of diplomatic relations to the closing down of an embassy 
     and possibly the interruption of diplomatic relations. Postponement or 
     cancellation of visits. 
  2. Political reactions - to raise the question of human rights violations 
     in the relevant regional or international fora - the UN. Each of these 
     fora have a long range of possible reactions from the adoption of 
     resolutions to exclusion of the country in question. As well as 
     economic, political and sports reactions. 

Bilateral and multilateral reactions: 

  1. Economic sanctions - unilateral or international. From individual 
     products to general sanctions. 
  2. Arms embargo. Interruption of possible military cooperation. 
     Peace-making initiatives following international mandates. 
  3. Development assistance - reduction or possible interruption of 
     development assistance. Set conditions for further assistance. Take up 
     the issue of human rights including workers' rights (for example in 
     Export Processing Zones) at negotiations with the government in 
     question. Possible alteration of assistance - i.e. more focus on 
     democratization or assistance through NGOs to mass organisations 
     including trade unions, human rights groups. Influence the policy of 
     the international organisations and institutions (see the paragraph 
     "Trade and development"). 
  4. We must lobby to have the Collective Complaints Procedure of the 
     European Human Rights Court signed and ratified by members of the 
     Council of Europe. 
  5. Sanctions regarding sports and culture. 
  6. Mass information and hearings to influence consumers. 
  7. Legal assistance: for example assist at court cases against opposition 
     leaders, trade unionists, human rights activists in order to secure 
     fair trials and public awareness of these trials. 
  8. Strengthen the cooperation with and assistance to legitimate and 
     democratic opposition groups and repressed trade unionists in 
     countries where human rights are not respected. 

Further long-term measures: 

   * Specific rules and conditions for intervention against governments who 
     are systematically violating human rights including workers' rights 
     should be adopted in the UN and regional organisations. 
   * Reform and restructuring of the UN system - less bureaucracy and more 
     fficiency. Member countries must be obliged to pay their membership 
     fees. 
   * There should be a much better coordinated policy within the various UN 
     organisations and international financial institutions where human 
     rights including social, economic, workers', women's and children's 
     rights are a basic, integrated part of that policy. 
   * The ILO's possibilities of specific intervention and eventually 
     sanctions against countries that violate the core ILO labour standards 
     should be strengthened. 
   * Workers' rights should be included in the World Trade Organization 
     (see specific paragraph on the WTO and workers' rights). The global 
     efforts to ensure the respect for the seven core ILO Conventions 
     should be enhanced at every level - national, regional and 
     international. 
   * Regional and global sanctions should be adopted against the export of 
     weapons and other military equipment, the sending out of military 
     experts or military training to states that grossly violate basic 
     human rights. 

4.1. Workers' rights 

In rich and poor countries alike there are fears of rising insecurity as 
technological change, expanding international interactions and the decline 
of traditional community structures seem to threaten jobs, wages, and 
support for the elderly. Nor have economic growth and rising integration 
solved the problem of world poverty and deprivation. Indeed, the numbers of 
the poor could rise still further as the world labour force grows from 2.5 
billion today to a projected 3.7 billion in 30 years' time. 

Furthermore, nearly one billion people around the world, approximately 30% 
of the entire global workforce, are unemployed or underemployed in 
industrialized and developing countries alike, according to a new ILO 
report. 

The global economic crisis since 1973 together with the globalization 
process has meant increased insecurity for workers in the industrialized 
countries where relocation of enterprises to countries with cheaper labour 
and poor labour standards, deregulations and the flexibilization of the 
labour market are becoming growing threats to those rights that workers 
have battled for over 100 years to attain. 

In developing countries weak, repressed and often divided trade unions are 
battling to secure workers minimum rights. 

In the newly industrialized countries the economic boom has most often been 
accompanied by a total violation of workers' rights. Only state-controlled 
trade unions are allowed to function and the genuine trade unions that are 
trying to emerge are exposed to all kinds of repression. Typically, 
economic advancement has not been followed by the necessary social equity. 

It is only through a common global campaign that we can make our voices 
heard for the respect of workers' rights everywhere in the world. 

4.1.1. Reform, restructuring and strengthening of the ILO 

As the only tripartite UN organisation the ILO has a most important role to 
play. The ILO sets the international standards for workers' rights. 

The ILO's role and supervisory machinery must be strengthened, so as to 
bring it back to the original mandate to defend the rights of workers and 
to secure that the observance of each convention is systematically pursued 
in all countries and in all international organisations and institutions. 

The ILO should be given binding instruments to secure the implementation of 
its constitutional conventions (Nos. 87 and 98 on the rights of 
organisation and collective agreements) and of conventions ratified by the 
countries. Today it is far too easy for a country to ratify ILO Conventions 
and not to live up to its obligations of implementing the content. 

It must be secured that the various ILO committees work efficiently and are 
able to cope with the new international situation arising from the 
globalization of the market. Trade unions - both national and international 
- have a role to play to secure that these committees are made workable. 

A method should be introduced to secure that trade unions participating in 
the ILO Labour Conference and the various Committees are really 
representative unions. Today we experience that some governments are able 
freely to appoint trade unions of their own choice which are not 
representative of the workers to participate, while the genuine unions are 
kept without any influence or possibility of participation. 

The ITS' should enhance their cooperation with the ILO in order to secure a 
review of the specific ILO Conventions and the planning of a strategy 
within the fields of their individual sector. 

After the WTO Ministers' Conference in Singapore in December 1996 it is 
most important to secure that the role of the ILO is strengthened in 
relation to the WTO. 

4.1.2. A global campaign for the inclusion of workers' rights in the WTO 

Although it was not possible to reach our goal of having workers' rights 
included in the WTO - the World Trade Organisation - or even to set up a 
working group to pursue this objective at the WTO meeting in Singapore in 
December 1996, we must strengthen our efforts to achieve this. In the 
coming years up to the next conference in 1998 we must make an effective 
information and lobbying campaign nationally and globally towards 
governments, employers, consumers and even some trade unions to make them 
understand the need for and to accept the inclusion of workers' rights in 
international trade agreements. Special focus should be put on governments 
and trade unions from Asia as well as NGOs in general that have been the 
most reluctant towards the whole concept. It is especially important that 
trade unions and governments from developing countries make it a top 
priority and use their cooperation with other developing countries in order 
to avoid that it is mainly unions and governments in industrialized 
countries who are calling for the inclusion of workers' rights. 

The inclusion of workers' rights in trade agreements is necessary because 
it is an additional instrument which can force countries to enforce 
universally recognized and enforceable labour rights, especially in 
countries where workers' rights hardly exist, are wanting, or where they 
are simply not enforced. The inclusion of workers' rights or a social 
clause would link social responsibility to trade, thereby rejecting the 
unconscious and inhuman mercantilist doctrine of trade without any social 
responsibility. 

The social clause would, thus, be an additional instrument for the 
protection of labour rights and an aid in the organisation and education of 
workers. It would, however, require a close cooperation between the WTO and 
the ILO in order to ensure the effective implementation of the workers' 
rights and some effective instruments - whether sanctions, embargos, 
exclusion or the use of positive actions including assistance for 
education, training and social programmes towards countries that do change 
their attitude towards workers' rights - in order to be able to react when 
workers' rights are violated. 

It must be stressed that these workers' rights are based upon the seven 
core ILO Conventions: 

   * ILO Conventions Nos. 87 and 98 on the rights of organisation and 
     collective agreements 
   * ILO Convention No. 29 on forced labour 
   * ILO Convention No. 105 on the abolition of forced labour 
   * ILO Convention No. 100 on equal pay for men and women 
   * ILO Convention No. 111 against discrimination and 
   * ILO Convention No. 138 on child labour. 

The fight to include labour standards in the WTO rules centers around these 
seven conventions. They do not include wages or social provisions, and 
neither are they about attacking the low wage comparative advantages of 
some less developed economies. It should also be stated that these 
standards are not about protectionism, but are about making sure that 
competition is fair and not at the expense of workers' fundamental human 
rights. 

We must, therefore, redouble our efforts to lobby governments to make sure 
that these core conventions are enshrined in the WTO and that they are 
backed by a procedure for multilateral sanctions at the WTO. 

The campaign focusing on these seven conventions does not diminish the 
importance of other conventions such as ILO Convention No. 135 (workers'
representation in the enterprise) which ensures the representation of 
workers by legitimate institutions and organisations. 

Meanwhile it is also important to make full use of existing WTO mechanisms 
to exert maximum influence in support of the rights of workers. 

4.1.3. Tripartism 

In some countries the principle of tripartism - i.e. government, employer 
and trade union cooperation - is well-advanced and secures trade union 
organisations an effective platform to influence national policies. This is 
a well-known phenomenon in the Nordic countries. 

There are other positive examples of effective tripartite cooperation. 
NEDLAC, the National Economic, Development and Labour Council in South 
Africa should be mentioned. In NEDLAC all macro-economic, developmental, 
and labour market policies must be debated in tripartite committees and in 
some areas even with the participation of civic organisations before being 
presented in Parliament. This enables trade unions to deal with the much 
more overall policies affecting the whole development of their societies 
and not just bread and butter issues or their specific sector-related 
topics. However difficult this cooperation sometime appears, it does give 
trade unions a voice in society and huge possibilities of getting 
influence. 

In many countries tripartite fora have been established merely to fulfill 
conditions from the ILO. Governments and employers do not respect the trade 
unions' participation, and the fora end up being just some kind of cover 
up. Clear examples have been seen in various Central American countries. 

We must make active efforts to force governments and employers to accept 
effective tripartite institutions. As representatives of a large section of 
the population trade unions must have a say on overall policies as well as 
on specific sector policies. This of course also requires that trade unions 
are able to live up to their obligations. It requires comprehensive 
training activities for trade union leaders in order to be prepared to face 
governments and employers on difficult issues. 

It is also crucial that trade unions are not always on the defensive but 
are in a position to come up with viable alternative policies and 
programmes. This will require extensive research and analysis activities 
within the trade unions. 

It is, however, vital that trade union organisations are able to involve 
their members actively in the overall policies they are engaged in. This 
will require continued information and education activities in order not to 
widen the gap between the membership and the trade union leadership. Local 
leadership and shop stewards must always be in a position to understand, to 
discuss and to defend their union's policy. 

It should, nonetheless, also be stressed that there are certain dangers in 
connection with tripartite cooperation at overall level. It is important to 
secure trade unions' independence. Trade unions may at some point be at 
risk of being bound to and made responsible of certain political decisions 
which might be against their general objectives. 

Tripartism at international level is in reality only recognized in the ILO 
- the International Labour Organisation. As the biggest democratic mass 
movement in the world, trade unions should be engaged much more in overall 
decision-making at international level. For example in the WTO - the World 
Trade Organisation - which so far is completely dominated by governments 
who are deciding the fate of millions and millions of workers around the 
world. It would only be reasonable if the WTO were a tripartite 
organisation with representatives of the social partners as well as 
governments. It is after all the organisation setting the framework for 
world trade - one of the most important economic and political issue in the 
world today. 

4.2. Women's rights 

Even after decades of focusing on women's rights and many international 
instruments calling for equal rights and opportunities for women, 
discrimination against women has never been stronger. Globalization has 
certainly not meant better conditions for women. On the contrary, women are 
the most affected by the changing labour markets, by the unemployment and 
the deregulations. They get the least skilled jobs, they are the first ones 
to lose their job and the last to get a new one, and equal work is by no 
means rewarded by equal pay with men. 

Although more and more women are joining the labour market, they are also 
the ones who mainly work in the new bastions of globalization in the 
developing countries - namely the informal sector, the export processing 
zones and home working, where they are exposed to harsh working conditions, 
exploitation, sexual abuse and fierce anti-union repression. 

Altogether the role of women in society is consistently underestimated. 
There is, thus, still an urgent need to change men's and society's attitude 
towards women. 

The neoliberal policies and structural adjustment programmes carried out in 
many developing countries and economies in transition have hit women 
especially hard with their privatizations and cutting down on crucial 
sectors like education, health care and social programmes. 

It is in a way ironical and really proves the lack of coordination of 
policies within the UN system and the emptiness of the many declarations 
and commitments at Summits and conferences, that while we in some fora and 
UN organisations keep focusing on gender issues and the need for 
education/training and health care facilities as one of the best means of 
improving girls' and women's situation across the world and thus to promote 
a socially balanced development, structural adjustment programmes with the 
exact opposite policy and objectives are carried out in so many countries - 
with the most negative consequences for women. 

Women's rights are human rights - as it was established so clearly at the 
Beijing Women's Conference in 1995. Therefore, women and gender aspects 
should be an integrated part of all policies and planning activities at all 
levels. Trade unions have a most important role in securing the follow up 
to the Beijing Women's Conference and the adoption by governments and 
international organisations and institutions of plans of action to 
implement the many commitments. Focus should be put on: 

   * Equal rights and opportunities for women 
   * Equal access to education, training and health care 
   * Secure women's reproductive health 
   * Secure paid maternity leave 
   * Provision of child care facilities 
   * Equal pay for equal work 
   * Access to income and credit 
   * Promotion of women's participation in decision-making positions 
   * Steps against sexual harassment and violence against women. 

In the trade union movement we certainly also still have a long way to go - 
in industrialized as well as in developing countries and in the 
international organisations. Trade unions are still dominated by men and 
very often not enough focus is put on women workers' special situation and 
problems. Trade unions must realize the enormous potential there is in 
women workers and improve their efforts to promote equal rights and 
opportunities for women. Trade unions need to look at their structures and 
procedures to make sure that these rather than hinder the participation of 
women, enable them to play a full part. 

Special focus should be put on training activities for women in the trade 
unions. Women's committees should be established. It is, however, crucial 
that these women's committees do not end up like parallel committees 
without any influence in the unions, but that they are taken seriously by 
the leadership and the organisation as such and that they are an integrated 
part of the organisations with direct relation to the decision-making 
bodies. Gender perspectives and women's special problems should, 
furthermore, be an integrated part of all trade union training activities 
in order to be able to change men's attitude towards women. 

More women should be represented in the decision-making bodies of the 
unions. Quota systems could be used to promote this tendency and women must 
be encouraged to run for leadership positions at all levels through 
continued awareness-building, training and education activities. 

Women's rights such as equal pay, maternity leave, child care facilities 
should be an integrated part of trade unions' demands in collective 
negotiations and focus must be put on women workers' special situation and 
working conditions in areas such as the export processing zones, home 
working and the informal sector. 

Regional and global trade union activities for women should be promoted in 
order to establish networks across borders and continents to exchange 
experiences, to strengthen women's awareness and self-consciousness and to 
focus on many of the same problems that women are experiencing everywhere 
in the world. 

We must make alliances with NGOs and women's organisations in order to 
secure the continued focus on women's rights and the follow up to the 
commitments at the Beijing Conference. 

In our campaign for the inclusion of workers' rights in the WTO which would 
include the ILO Conventions against discrimination and on equal pay we must 
focus on the need for the recognition of women's rights and their crucial 
role in society. Workers' rights in the WTO could mean a giant step forward 
in our struggle against centuries of discrimination against women. 

4.3. Children's rights and a global campaign against child labour 

According to ILO estimates some 200 to 250 million children under the age 
of 15 are working in the world today. This is simply unacceptable. It is 
the result of employers' greed and pursuit of profit at all costs, as well 
as governments' acceptance and the complacency on the part of all of us. 

Trade unions must make active efforts to denounce child labour and to make 
local, national, regional and global campaigns against the use of child 
labour. The aim is the elimination of child labour. 

Children have a right to a decent childhood and to education as established 
in the basic UN Convention on the Rights of the Child from 1989 and in the 
ILO Convention No. 138 on the Minimum Age for Workers from 1973. A child's 
place is at school and not at the workplace. Children are the whole basis 
of our future societies and the education of our boys and girls alike is 
the most important condition for establishing a viable socially equitable 
and sustainable development. 

Too many trade unions close their eyes to the problem and are reluctant to 
deal with the matter, because it is not their sector or it could affect 
their members or potential members, because children often make a 
significant contribution to relieving the extreme poverty of their 
families. But as trade unions we must accept as a basic principle that 
child labour cannot be tolerated and that we must use every means to have 
it abolished while focusing on the need for compulsory education for all 
children and on the creation of jobs for adults. 

It is obvious that one of the best methods to combat child labour is to 
have strong representative trade unions. This again enhances the need to 
organise and to build a strong democratic and united trade union movement 
that is in a position to influence national and international policies and 
to make collective agreements with the employers. 

Specifically we propose to focus on: 

   * Investigations: It is crucial to investigate the exact extent of child 
     labour and the conditions under which children are working. 
   * Massive information about all sorts of child labour, awareness-raising 
     and campaigns at every level for the enforcement of UN and ILO 
     Conventions. 
   * Extensive use of the media and international communication networks to 
     denounce governments that allow child labour and employers who use 
     children as workforce. 
   * The creation of special units or committees within our trade unions at 
     local, national, regional and international levels to deal with child 
     labour, to establish contact with the children who are working, to 
     promote educational and training programmes, to inform them of their 
     rights and of the trade unions' role and to develop alternative 
     strategies to avoid child labour and to promote job creation for adult 
     workers. 
   * To establish networks with NGOs in order to promote the struggle 
     against child labour and to raise consumer interest and actions. 
   * To lobby with political parties and governments for the ratification 
     of the relevant UN and ILO Conventions and their implementation, i.e. 
     active steps towards the elimination of child labour, compulsory 
     education and job creation for adults, and to report every violation 
     to the ILO Committee of Experts, the Working Group on Contemporary 
     Forms of Slavery and to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. 
   * In development assistance programmes to focus on the need for 
     compulsory education and for special educational and training 
     programmes for children who are working. The industrialized countries 
     should take up the issue of child labour in their annual consultations 
     with governments from developing countries. 
   * The inclusion of workers' rights in the WTO which would mean an 
     important step in the struggle against child labour. 
   * Lobbying and campaigns towards enterprises and TNCs to have collective 
     agreements and codes of conduct. 
   * Trade unions should lobby in the preparation of the new ILO Convention 
     on Child Labour to ensure that any new convention supports and 
     complements Convention No. 138. 

5. How to cope with the Transnational Companies 

The expansion of the Transnational Companies and their global investments 
is one of the most fundamental characteristics of globalization. Today 
there are some 39,000 TNCs led by Shell, Nestlé and General Motors that 
cover one third of the world's production and that were behind the ever 
increasing direct foreign investments, which in 1995 rose to 135 billion 
dollars. Some 30% of these investments were placed in new production sites 
in developing countries, especially in South East Asia. 

According to the World Bank TNCs control 70% of the world trade and more 
than one third of this trade takes place within these global production 
companies. 

There is an increasing tendency towards the formation of big conglomerates 
with the on-going mergers and alliances between TNCs. This means a further 
concentration of power and bigger market shares for the big TNCs who are 
building genuine enterprise empires that are gaining enormous power to 
decide the economic conditions and the fates of millions of people - a 
power that is able to influence the policies of governments, international 
organisations and financial institutions - and a power that is totally 
outside of popular control. 

Furthermore, nations and regions are entering into a harsh competition in 
order to attract the investments of TNCs, thus competing on a 
flexibilization of the labour market, deregulations, lowering of labour 
standards, minimizing of enterprise taxes, investment deductions etc. One 
of the most outstanding examples is the growing number of Export Processing 
Zones that will be further described below. 

The growing number of subcontractors and franchises makes it more difficult 
to get a clear picture of the magnitude and extent of the TNCs. 

But what can we as trade unions do to cope with this development? To cope 
with the TNCs in order to secure better working and living conditions and 
the respect for workers' rights for the millions of people employed in or 
affected by the TNCs? 

The inclusion of workers' rights in the WTO and in regional trade 
agreements would of course also in respect of the TNCs be a giant step 
forward. 

Social treaties based upon ILO Conventions and other international 
agreements on labour rights and standards should be introduced at regional 
levels, for example in the EU, NAFTA, MERCOSUR, SADC and APEC. The social 
partners must be actively involved in the preparation and monitoring of 
these agreements. 

Rules about respect of fundamental labour rights and ILO Conventions must 
be added to agreements on trade, economic and other cooperation between 
regional common markets. 

Cooperation with NGOs and consumer groups should be promoted in order to 
benefit from the growing social and political awareness among consumers 
(see below). 

TNCs are open to pressure from consumers, investors and shareholders. Trade 
unions must learn to make full use of the leverage that this provides them 
with to alter some of the practices of TNCs. 

However, we cannot rely solely on these measures for the improvement of 
workers' conditions in TNCs. It is first and foremost our own task as trade 
unions to set some strategies to be able to think and act globally just as 
the TNCs have now been doing for years. 

5.1. A common strategy 

   * One of the basic and most important tasks is again organising - it 
     cannot be stressed enough. Only strong trade unions will be able to 
     influence TNCs. But these organising efforts must also, somehow, be 
     directed at covering workers in subcontractors, home workers, seasonal 
     workers, casual workers, migrant workers etc. who have a connection to 
     the TNCs as well as workers in the Export Processing Zones. 
   * There is a need to establish some global collective bargaining 
     procedures. At the same time we must improve our means of actions and 
     secure a close cooperation and relation between local, national and 
     global actions. 
   * Collective agreements must be negotiated with TNCs wherever they are 
     operating. Global coordination and cooperation between trade unions in 
     this respect is crucial. Agreement should be made to seek a role for 
     collective bargaining on some issues, beyond the boundaries of the 
     nation-state. An important start can be made through unions 
     coordinating their strategies within regional economic blocs, to 
     ensure the levelling up of labour and social standards. 
   * Efforts should be made to build global shop floor structures. This can 
     be facilitated through the setting up and strengthening of 
     international company councils for union representatives. These 
     councils should seek agreement to guarantee similar trade union 
     organising facilities and observance of basic labour rights at all 
     workplaces owned by the companies, irrespective of where they are 
     located. 
   * The establishment of Global Works' Councils. Some TNCs have already 
     accepted this principle for example in the food, metal and banking 
     sectors. The EU directive on European Works Councils - the EWCs - must 
     be used to strengthen workers' role and influence in relation to the 
     1,100 to 1,200 transnational companies that are involved in European
     operations. Since also American, Japanese and other international 
     companies are covered by the EWC directive, workers and the trade 
     union movement in Europe must strengthen global coordination through 
     their European and international trade union secretariats, the 
     European Trade Union Congress (the ETUC) and the International 
     Confederation of Free Trade Unions (the ICFTU) with the trade unions 
     in those countries. 

Anchored in Europe, the EWC work must be used as a platform for the 
worldwide establishment of Global Works Councils and agreements between 
these companies and the international trade union movement. 

   * A campaign should be carried out for specific Codes of Conduct in key 
     Transnational Companies. 
   * Efforts must be made to strengthen the education and training 
     activities for trade union leaders and shop stewards. It is crucial to 
     have well-trained trade unionists if we want to be able to negotiate 
     effectively with TNCs and to participate actively as representatives 
     of the workers in the works councils. 
   * As the labour market demands increasing numbers of skilled workers, 
     more focus should be put on the need for vocational training and 
     governments' and employers' responsibilities to secure these training 
     opportunities. 
   * Trade unions must emphasize the need for a safe and healthy working 
     environment and we must make enterprises feel a moral obligation to 
     secure this. Health and safety measures must be introduced, trade 
     unions must have health and safety representatives at workplaces and 
     funds must be made available for health and safety training 
     activities. 

In this respect we must keep pushing TNCs to have them accept their 
obligation to secure the same health and safety standards in developing 
countries as in industrialized countries. 

It is also vital to secure that TNCs are not able to export for example 
chemicals and pesticides that are forbidden in their home countries to 
developing countries where these products most often are being used without 
even a minimum of safety measures for the workers. 

5.2. Export Processing Zones 

The Export Processing Zones - the EPZs - started appearing in the 60s in 
Ireland and in Mexico. They soon spread to other countries and have further 
increased in numbers with the globalization process. Today they can be 
found in a very large number of developing countries, in Central and 
Eastern Europe and also in some industrialized countries. 

The purpose of establishing EPZs was to attract foreign investors in order 
to create jobs, to generate income for the country and to increase the 
national technological capacity. In reality EPZs have been adapted to meet 
the interest of capital. Their greatest drawback is the absence of workers' 
rights. 

According to a recent ILO investigation of EPZs in Central America and the 
Dominican Republic the first objective of attracting foreign investors has 
been reached, although in this connection they stress that it is important 
to focus on the quality of the job, on working conditions and on the labour 
relations in the EPZs. We will come back to this later. 

Regarding the second objective - the generation of income - the ILO report 
states that the income from EPZs has not made a substantial contribution to 
the countries' GDP taking into consideration that EPZs are not a part of 
the national economy and all the advantages that investors are getting both 
in the form of tax and customs exemptions and subsidies for export as well 
as the institutional and infrastructural facilities that the governments 
are providing for the zones.

The last objective - an increase in the national technological capacity - 
has not been obtained. EPZs remain as closed social and economical areas 
without any interaction with local companies or producers. Furthermore, 
enterprises in EPZs usually do not use advanced technology, which means 
that the workers there do not get any knowledge of new technology either, 
which could otherwise be used at a later stage in national companies. 

The establishment of EPZs has been further promoted by the neoliberal 
structural adjustment programmes of the World Bank and the IMF with their 
focus on an export-oriented industrialization. 

EPZs are enclosed and guarded areas where foreign investors establish their 
plants. These foreign investors are allowed to import their raw materials 
and to export their merchandises without customs. Often they are guaranteed 
against trade union organisation in the EPZs and get exemptions from 
existing labour codes. 

It is especially companies from the USA, Korea, Taiwan and some from Europe 
that are investing in EPZs looking for the low salaries and the lack of 
workers' rights or health and safety measures. The most frequent industries 
are textile, clothing, shoe, leather, tobacco, electronics, radio, TV, soft 
drinks and spare parts for cars. 

It is estimated that some 80% of the workers in EPZs are young women who 
often work 12 hours a day, 6 days a week under harsh conditions, severe 
control and without even a minimum of facilities in the workplace. Sexual 
harassment and even physical punishment are not unusual phenomena. There 
are cases of forced family planning in order to avoid pregnancies and even 
of forced sterilization. 

In Honduras in Central America child labour is also being used in the EPZs, 
but it is very difficult to estimate the global extent of child labour in 
EPZs due to the lack of accurate data. 

As mentioned it is typical of EPZs that no trade union activities are 
allowed. Most often trade union activists will be fired and attempts to 
strike have often been met with police and even military intervention. 
Nonetheless, we have seen examples in the Dominican Republic, in Honduras 
and in Nicaragua where trade unions have succeeded in organising workers, 
in having their union recognized by the government and finally obtaining a 
collective agreement with a company. So it is possible after all. 

The big dilemma with EPZs is of course that - as mentioned in the ILO 
report - they do create jobs. And these jobs are badly needed in countries 
where the unemployment often affects 40 to 60% of the population. 
Furthermore, in many of these countries the jobs - however bad the quality 
of the work is - give young women a chance at becoming economically 
independent for the first time. For the workers it is not easy to start 
being engaged in trade union activities. They can very easily lose their 
job. And companies often threaten to move to other countries if workers 
start to organise. 

However, it is quite unacceptable that workers across the world are working 
under such conditions and in this way also contribute to the undermining of 
labour rights and standards. But it is only through a comprehensive 
information, organising and lobbying campaign that we can force employers 
to accept basic workers' rights and to improve the working conditions in 
the EPZs. In this connection the following steps are proposed: 

   * Organising activities in the EPZs, information about workers' rights 
     and training activities (possibly underground activities using social 
     activities as cover up). 
   * Regional and global cooperation between trade unions trying to 
     organise workers in the EPZs / coordination of activities in the 
     relevant ITS' 
   * Mass information campaign about working conditions and the lack of 
     workers' rights in EPZs locally, nationally, regionally and globally. 
     Special focus in industrialized countries where there is in fact very 
     little knowledge of EPZs in order to influence the consumers, 
     employers and politicians/governments to take concrete action 
   * Governments in industrialized countries should take up the issue of 
     EPZs and require respect of workers' rights in their annual 
     consultations with the governments in developing countries 
   * Contact to the TNCs involved in EPZs requiring the respect for 
     workers' rights and codes of conduct. 

5.3. The political consumer / the political enterprise 

As mentioned before globalization does have some positive aspects. The 
modern information technology with global media networks and coverage, and 
the development of the Internet have implied that news from all corners of 
the world are brought to us. There is more transparency, monitoring and 
control of what is happening around the globe than ever before. 

This is bringing about a new awareness and responsibility among consumers, 
especially in industrialized countries. Consumers are becoming much more 
interested in issues like human rights, ecology and social conditions. A 
new concept is appearing - the political consumer who will demand some 
ethical and moral standards from the enterprises from which they have to 
buy the products. 

Consumers constitute an extremely powerful pressure group towards 
enterprises, and also towards politicians. We have seen how threats of 
boycotts of products have been able to influence the investment policies of 
TNCs. 

And enterprises are beginning to react to this growing awareness in 
consumers. In the global market where competitiveness is the order of the 
day and where employers and TNCs are always looking for new market shares, 
the attitude of consumers is vital. Therefore TNCs are vulnerable and are 
starting to realize the need to develop new strategies and policies. 

Moral and ethic standards and a so-called social responsibility is 
appearing on the agendas of TNCs and even in international fora such as the 
World Economic Forum. It is certainly not out of idealistic reasons, but 
simply a pragmatic attitude, the need to create a positive image to satisfy 
the political consumers. A new form of enterprise is in reality developing 
- the political enterprise. This could very well be trend-setting. 

Thus, consumers could become important allies, if we are able to inform 
sufficiently of workers' conditions and of the need to respect workers' 
rights globally. 

The use of social labelling such as Rugmark should be further explored. We 
should also support, wherever possible, the introduction of properly 
monitored codes of conduct. 

But as stressed before, we cannot rely solely on the new trend in 
consumers. It fluctuates and often it is depending on the stories that the 
media chose to focus on. But it can complement our activities and we must 
be ready to use and influence it if it can strengthen our global struggle 
for human and trade union rights. 

6. Trade and development 

As mentioned globalization and the liberalization of trade has not meant 
more equality between rich and poor, between North and South. On the 
contrary, there has been a growing polarisation. During the last 30 years 
the share of the global income of the poorest 20% has fallen from 2.3% to 
1.4%, while at the same time the share of the richest 20% has increased 
from 70% to 85%. 

The increased polarisation is reflected in the growing differences in 
development between regions. The percentage of the population living in 
poverty is falling in East and South Asia, it seems to stabilize in Latin 
America and North Africa, while it is increasing in Sub-Saharan Africa. But 
measured in real figures the number of people living in poverty is 
increasing every year. If we do not succeed in making the necessary changes 
in the global development, the total number of poor people in the world 
will reach 1.5 billion by the year 2025. 

While there has been a drastic fall in development assistance from 
industrialized countries, there is also a tendency towards investments 
taking over the role of development assistance. Private investments have 
tripled in five years and have grown to 90 billion US dollars. Thus, 
investments have become the greatest source today of external financing of 
the development in the South. 

But investments have primarily gone to Asia, where they have grown with 
some 65%, whereas in Sub-Saharan Africa investments have fallen with one 
third and only make up 2 billion US dollars. 

Globally, it is the weakest economic and political regions that are hit 
especially hard and are kept outside of development. 47 of the poorest 
countries in the world - and most of these are African - only make out 0.3% 
of world trade compared to 2.3% in 1960. 

6.1. Trade 

Trade liberalizations and regional trade agreements have increased world 
trade and, thus, also global economic interdependency. But not all 
countries will benefit from the world economic expansion. There is a very 
serious risk that those countries that are badly integrated in the world 
economy will be further marginalized. 

Trade is especially being expanded between the USA, South East Asia and the 
EU and a closer cooperation is developing between these areas - between the 
USA and APEC, between NAFTA and the EU and between the EU and South East 
Asia. 

The more developed Third World countries are doing pretty well in the new 
global market using every method to attract investments - including as we 
have mentioned before the violation and undermining of workers' rights. 

The WTO's objective of removing all trade barriers means that the 48 least 
developed countries (mostly African countries) with 570 million people will 
be forced to open their markets to the products from industrialized 
countries and they can, thus, lose further market shares. The problem is 
that these countries mostly still depend upon the export of their raw 
materials. Furthermore, they are not competitive because of the very low 
technological level, unskilled workers, ineffective production and lack of 
infrastructure. 

For these countries to be given a fair chance to compete on reasonable 
terms, it would require that the markets in the EU and in other economic 
blocs be opened to their products and that they be given substantive 
economic and technical assistance for education, training, technological 
know how, development of the infrastructure and of industrial production. 

But so far the promises made to the least developed countries have not been 
met. There are no obligations on industrialized countries in the plan of 
action adopted at the WTO. It is quite obvious that the WTO is dominated by 
the big economic powers - the USA, the EU and Japan. 

This lack of solidarity in the world is unacceptable as it will only lead 
to further poverty, further marginalisation of countries, more conflicts 
and wars. We must secure that the poorest developing countries are given 
fair chances. For years we have been saying that trade would be better than 
development assistance. Now we must say: "more trade and more development 
assistance". 

On the other hand, in order to guarantee the social dimension of trade, we 
demand: 

   * A gradual and sovereign adhesion of countries into trade agreements. 
   * The democratization of negotiations with participation of workers and 
     other sectors of society, and guarantee final approval of agreements 
     by democratic structures. 
   * Adoption of social charters in the agreements, guaranteeing the 
     respect for basic labour and environmental standards. 

6.2. Development policies 

In 1970 an objective of using 0.7% of the industrialized countries' GDP in 
development assistance was adopted in the UN. Today development assistance 
has never been lower and only reaches 0.27% of the GDP of the 
industrialized world. Only the Nordic countries and the Netherlands have 
passed the 0.7% goal. Furthermore, development assistance has fallen 
substantially to the least developed countries. 

These poor figures in development assistance are due to the economic crisis 
in the industrialized countries, the huge unemployment, a certain mistrust 
in the effectiveness of development aid and the assistance to East and 
Central Europe and the countries in the former Soviet Union. Furthermore, 
the end of the Cold War has meant for example for the USA a lack of 
interest in Third World countries where development assistance was often 
given before for political reasons. 

We must make governments in the industrialized countries live up to their 
commitments to reach the UN goal of 0.7% in development assistance and 
their obligations to assist especially the least developed countries to a 
human and socially and environmentally sustainable development. 

More resources should be secured for primary education, training and basic 
medical service. In this respect the 20/20 principle (20% of donors' funds 
and 20% of the recipient country's GDP for the social sectors) should be 
complied with. 

However, it should be stressed that development assistance alone can never 
secure a sustainable development. It is crucial that the governments in 
developing countries adopt a coordinated policy towards a socially 
equitable and sustainable development with focus on democracy and human 
rights, good governance and an end to corruption, the involvement of civil 
society, land reforms, social services (education, health care etc.), 
vocational training, development of the infrastructure and job creation. 
Cuts in the often far too high military expenses should also be a priority. 

But we also know how little space third world countries often have to 
decide their own fate. The structural adjustment programmes imposed upon 
them by the World Bank and the IMF - the International Monetary Fund - with 
their neoliberalistic approach have been decisive in this respect. 

  1. 6.3. The environment and occupational health and safety 

Globalization has meant a further deterioration of the environment, 
especially due to changing unsustainable consumption and production 
patterns, particularly in industrialized countries. 

It is crucial that the world's leaders now seriously consider the negative 
effects of globalization on the environment. Many agreements and 
commitments have been made, but it is time to implement these. 

Although progress has been made and a growing consciousness for the need of 
environmental protection is appearing, we still experience how the world's 
resources are being worn down. The industrialized world must change its 
attitude to the environment and its energy consumption. 

Likewise, the industrialized countries should increase their assistance to 
developing countries and transition economies to help them in their efforts 
to develop environmental policies in order to secure a sustainable 
development. 

Occupational health and safety must be seen as an integrated part of 
environmental policies. Trade unions must work to have legislation adopted 
for occupational health and safety measures just as health and safety 
control and monitoring systems should be introduced. Trade unions must have 
health and safety representatives at the workplace, and special focus 
should be put on information and training activities on health and safety 
measures. Employers should be forced to secure a healthy working 
environment and to provide the necessary protection equipment. Special 
efforts must be taken towards TNCs in order to secure the same occupational 
health and safety standards, wherever they are located. 

6.4. UN policies 

Although there is an urgent need for a reform and restructuring of the UN 
system, as well as a need to make it less bureaucratic and more efficient, 
we must admit the crucial role that the UN has in promoting peace and 
development. We may criticize the UN, but we certainly cannot do without 
the organisation. 

The role of the UN must be strengthened in general. This also requires that 
all member states make an active contribution towards paying their debt and 
regular contributions to the UN. 

The policies of the various UN institutions and organisations must be 
coordinated much better. While in some organisations the social sectors, 
environmental and gender issues have the highest priorities, these policies 
can be undermined by the very negative social consequences of the policies 
imposed by the international financial institutions under the UN. 

The trade union movement must influence the UN organisations towards 
policies that promote social development, the respect for workers' rights, 
equality and reduction of military expenditure in developing countries. 

In this respect it is vital that the resolutions of the UN Social Summit in 
Copenhagen have a high priority and that the goals set out in the 
declaration and the commitments are systematically complied with. The role 
of the ECOSOC - the Economic and Social Council - in the monitoring of the 
follow up to the Social Summit must be clarified and strengthened. 

The UN must strengthen its efforts to promote human rights and trade union 
rights in relation to countries that do not respect the declaration of 
human rights or the ILO Conventions. 

A clear strategy on how to lobby towards politicians, governments, 
embassies, enterprises and international organisations should be adopted 
nationally and internationally within the trade union movement in relation 
to the follow up on the various UN Conferences and Summits. 

6.5. The debt crisis and Structural Adjustment Programmes 

For the poorest countries in the world the debt burden is one of the most 
important barriers to development and the struggle against poverty. There 
is an urgent need to find viable solutions to this problem. Often the debt 
payment constitutes 25 to 30% of the already limited public income of these 
countries. The problem is especially serious in the least developed 
countries. 

The issue of the need for debt relief for these countries was taken up at 
the Social Summit in 1995, but very few of the industrialized countries 
were willing to accept an immediate relief. However, in september 1996 the 
World Bank and the IMF adopted an initiative for debt relief for some of 
the poorest and most indebted countries. But the industrialized countries 
must actively support this positive new initiative and secure that it is 
implemented. 

At the Social Summit it was broadly recognized that there was an urgent 
need to change the structural adjustment programmes that the IMF and the 
World Bank have imposed upon developing countries for the last 10 to 15 
years. The serious social consequences that the programmes have had were 
stressed and the need for a more social development was underlined. It 
appears that the IMF and the World Bank have understood these signals and 
that there is a changing attitude in the institutions. However, there are 
still no clear signs of a change of policy in the countries affected. 

Structural adjustment programmes or SAPs have been implemented almost as a 
ready-made model across the Third World without any regard for the culture, 
traditions, special situation or problems of the specific country. Focus 
has been on growth, fight against inflation, the opening up of societies to 
foreign investments (without any focus on workers' rights), liberalization 
of the market, a blind belief in the market forces, export-orientation, 
cutting down of the public sector and cuts in social expenditure for 
education, health, social systems etc. 

It is very difficult to make an overall assessment of the SAPs - the 
development of the countries is of course also dependent upon many other 
factors. But it does seem quite apparent that the programmes have 
contributed to widening the gap between rich and poor, have affected the 
poor, and especially the more vulnerable groups like women and children, 
extremely hard because of the social cuts, have not contributed to 
developing the rural sectors, have minimized the role and size of the state 
without any planning or strategies, but rather for the sake of cutting 
down. Thus, altogether they have not contributed to a long term sustainable 
development. 

Trade unions must keep revealing the disastrous social effects of the SAPs 
and keep lobbying towards governments, the UN and the World Bank/IMF for a 
more social development. Just as we must demand that they take up the issue 
of workers' rights (also in EPZs) and child labour. 

A global contact committee between the World Bank, other development banks, 
the IMF and the international trade union movement about workers' rights 
and labour standards should be set up. 

Furthermore, international and national development banks and organisations 
such as the World Bank and the IMF must introduce a clause concerning 
respect of labour and union rights in the loan agreements and guidelines 
for purchases and specifications for tenders that control the award of 
public contracts. Borrowers and their executive bodies must be required to 
exclude from tender procedures any contractors/enterprises that do not 
respect international standards concerning workers' rights. 

7. Information and media strategy 

Most of the press and the electronic media are controlled today by the 
conservative forces. It can, therefore, be difficult for trade unions to 
make our voices heard. We have also seen too many examples of our campaigns 
not getting any impact outside our own circles. 

And yet we all know how important a tool the media are today. A few minutes 
on television can start off a chain reaction from consumers to politicians 
and an issue can this way very easily become a top priority political 
matter. 

We must work out a strategy nationally and internationally to deal with the 
media, to make our campaigns for example for workers' rights visible and 
understood. We must use the media for continued denunciations of regimes 
and enterprises that violate human and trade union rights. 

TNCs have used the new global networks very efficiently for quite some 
time. In the trade unions we are just beginning to have them introduced, 
but we still do not have a clear idea of how effectively we could use them 
for our common goals. 

We propose the setting up of a Global Labour Information Network where we 
could coordinate our activities and exchange experiences regarding for 
example organising efforts, collective agreements, international works 
councils, codes of conduct, labour codes, international labour standards, 
campaigns, conflicts, common actions, women's rights and activities, child 
labour, health and safety measures etc. 

It could also be used effectively to exchange and coordinate educational 
materials and programmes that could then be adapted to the reality of each 
organisation and country. Today far too many materials are produced for 
example on projects that are never exchanged with any other organisations. 

As mentioned before, it should not be an expensive centralised system, but 
a global and coordinated system that is run and financed in a decentralised 
way. 

We propose that a working group be set up with representatives from the 
international trade union movement, the ITS' and national centres and 
unions to come up with a concrete proposal for strategy and content for 
such a Global Labour Information Network. 

8. Seeking a viable alternative to neoliberalism with focus on social 
development and equity 

Neoliberalism has failed because it did not create equity within and 
between nations. As an economic and political doctrine it was rejected at 
the Copenhagen Social Summit by the majority of the world's heads of state. 
More spectacularly the electorates of its two major proponents, Great 
Britain and the United States, resoundingly rejected these policies. The 
international climate is changing. 

We cannot accept that market considerations have priority over human beings 
and the environment. It is not the market forces that should be steering 
our societies and our world. We reject the so-called market societies, 
because they have only led to increased social and global inequality and a 
lack of consideration for broad popular interests. We must put social 
market economy on the agenda. Social and economic development must go hand 
in hand, complemented by conscious redistributive policies and social 
welfare systems. 

Still a virtual world government has been created which is not subject to 
any form of democratic control or accountability. The democratic 
accountability of international capital and the democratization of global
governance is the central issue of the 21st century. 

We must create a world where considerations for the individual's 
possibilities, rights and freedoms together with solidarity and 
considerations for the community are accompanied by social welfare, justice 
and full employment without destroying the ecological balance. 

Only the labour movement with its basic principles of freedom, equality and 
solidarity can come up with global solutions that can create a social and 
sustainable development. 

Economic growth is important, but with the wrong policies we achieve a 
growth that is only benefitting the big enterprises. Increased growth does 
not automatically lead to increased equity. 

With neoliberalism we have seen a growth at the expense of the poor - for 
example in the US and Great Britain under Reagan and Thatcher. 

It is crucial that we are able to change the neoliberalistic jobless growth 
to a sustainable growth that can lead to the creation of jobs and thus 
promote a sustainable development of greater equity. A growth that can 
provide an important basis to finance a rising standard of living, that can 
provide employment, and that is able to finance increased tax revenues to 
pay for the delivery of social services to the poor. 

Growth is fostered by investment, training and technological innovation. 
These key engines of growth both contribute to, and are encouraged by, 
rising productivity. 

Focus should be on specific programmes and social sectors that can promote 
social equity while contributing to further growth and increased 
productivity like investments in public infrastructure, basic health, 
primary education, vocational training and land reforms. 

A new role should be defined for the state. We do not believe in the 
neoliberal concept of the minimal state. And we cannot accept the 
systematic ideological privatisations of the neoliberal movement. 

We reassert that basic social services must be a public task to secure 
equal rights and opportunities for all. However, we must also be ready to 
discuss well-prepared privatisations in other sectors or areas in order to 
secure better and more efficient service and productivity. It is then the 
task of trade unions and employers to secure that these privatisations do 
not occur at the expense of labour standards and working conditions. 

We believe that the state has an active and vital role to play in the 
building and shaping of the society, in securing democratic principles, 
good governance, justice and stability. It is the role of the state to 
secure a social and sustainable development that can bring about equal 
rights and opportunities for everybody. 

It is through its economic, fiscal, trade and industrial policies that the 
state is able to intervene and shape the development of the society. 

It is vital to secure that civil society can be actively involved at all 
levels in the shaping of the society and in the monitoring of democratic 
principles and the respect for human and trade union rights. 

Now is the time for trade unions across the world to join forces and to 
struggle for the respect of workers' rights everywhere and for a new world 
order in the 21st century based upon democracy, human rights, solidarity, 
equality and justice in order to secure a socially balanced, sustainable 
development within and between nations.

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