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We need constructive cooperation between unions, governments and employers

16 January, 2024Under this year’s theme rebuilding trust, leaders from governments and businesses is descending on Davos for next week’s World Economic Forum. Working people are at the forefront of the rapid technological developments profoundly changing the world of work. And yet workers’ voices are conspicuously lacking from the conversations.

Says IndustriALL Global Union general secretary Atle Høie:

“Increasing inequality and decreasing democracy in societies and workplaces are serious warning signs and major reasons for the lack of trust. This year’s theme is pertinent and there are no long-term solutions without trade unions at the table.

“We need inclusive and sustainable global development, and this depends on a constructive relationship between business and workers. Unions are essential to ensuring a fair distribution and must have a seat at the table. No worker, family or community must be left behind as jobs change and industries evolve. Cooperation, a fair distribution of income and wealth and good faith collective bargaining are the only ways forward. Further increases in inequality will only exacerbate the crisis.”

Global problems demand global solutions. Now more than ever, governments, companies and unions must come together to create fair and sustainable societies. IndustriALL works with multinational companies to achieve this balance, with global framework agreements with 46 companies, including WEF industry partners H&M, AngloAmerican, Total, Engie and Aker.

In a recent post ahead of the World Economic Forum, on the outlook of 2024, Atle Høie outlines the argument that major changes and transformations call for strong unions and constructive cooperation between unions, governments and employers, using the example of the US United Autoworkers Union’s strike against GM, Stellantis and Ford, where the union won record-breaking improvements in their contracts.

“The result is hopefully a stronger labour movement in the US, and if this spreads, a shift in organizing worldwide. If this happens there is a chance for a number of breakthroughs on a number of important topics such as climate change, energy transition, mobility, inequality and more. Major changes and transformations need strong unions and constructive cooperation between unions, governments and employers as equals. Governments and employers unfortunately seem to have to learn this the hard way.”