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  Issue No 118 Official Organ of LaborNet 02 November 2001  




.  LaborNET

.  Ask Neale

.  Tool of the Week


Globalising Labour

Interview courtesy of AMWU

On the eve of the International Metalworkers Federation Congress general secretary Marcello Malentacchi argues all nations need to retain a manufacturing base.



Why do you think the manufacturing industry is so important?

Job creation through productive investment is possible everywhere in the world. The economy of a country cannot be based on export, like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund want and recommend. I think improving purchasing power, making it possible for workers to buy what they produce is in the long run much better. This is why distribution of wealth is fundamental for sustainable development.

How do we in Australia balance working with our brothers and sisters in our region with ensuring that our wages and standards are not undermined?

The solution to this problem that affects many parts of the world is to organise workers and make sure that they have an organisation that fights for their rights. Workers in rich countries will have to continue to improve their standard of living and at the same time help those in poor and underdeveloped countries to achieve better standards.

MNCs argue that high salaries and high standards of living undermine the economy. Then why are the wages and standard of living so high in the strongest economies? Like the USA, Japan, Germany, Sweden, Norway all countries with the highest standard of living and the strongest economic performance. In fact reducing wages and the standard of living in rich countries would undermine the possibility of the poorest to develop.

How has the International Metalworkers Federation campaigned for workers rights?

Trade unions will have to organise its work internationally. We have to globalise our daily work. The IMF has been fighting since 1966 to include a special social clause in all trade agreements, multilateral and bilateral. The role of the WTO is to bring order into world trade. I believe that the WTO is the organisation that should rule over all trade agreements. The WTO must be re-structured and be a democratic organisation and very transparent. Trade Unions must be part of the WTO together with other nongovernment organisations.

The IMF has launched a proposal to all other International Trade Secretariats and the International Confederation of Free trade Unions (ICFTU) to create its own Tribune for Global Unions. We need to discuss the proposal and come up with an alternative to both Davos (World Economic Forum) and Porto Allegro (World Social Forum).

The IMF has adopted a policy paper with a special program for MNCs. We are in the process of negotiating international agreements with MNCs to guarantee a minimum standard as has been established in the ILO Declaration of Fundamental rights. Agreements must apply in all countries regardless of the geographic position of economic standards. The agreement must contain specific rules on how to monitor and implement the agreement.

The way the AMWU has fought for their workers rights over the last few years is eloquent. Through your commitment to the IMF and other international organisations the AMWU can contribute to the struggle in other countries in the region. Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Burma and PNG are countries where we together should be able to start projects that aim at creating strong independent and democratic trade unions that in the end is the best guarantee of workers rights.

Major Conference Events

Global Justice and Fair Trade Rally

November 13 12 pm

Assemble: Outside the Convention Centre, Darling Harbour - March to Martin Place

Speakers: NSW union speakers as well as Jack Mundey, Mick Dodson, Dorothy

McRae-McMahon, Sue Harris (ACFOA) and Klaus Zwickel (IG Metall & IMF)

Music by: The Drugs & Elefant Traks

Full details

Support the 1000 international delegates in Sydney for the International

Metalworkers Federation World Congress.

Protest the World Trade Organisation meeting in Qatar.

Part of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions - Global Day

of Action

Other events to build support for the rally:

Globalisation from Below: Alternatives to corporate globalisation seminar

FREE November 11 11.30-3.30

Tom Mann Theatre, 136 Chalmers St. Surry Hills

Speakers: International Union speakers from South Africa, Canada & Korea,

and local speakers from AFTINET, Aidwatch, AMWU, Jubilee, NSW NCC, NUS &


Band Night

Sunday 11 November 7pm

Metro Theatre, George St., Sydney

$10 (+bf) Tickets available NOW from Metro

bands: The Tenants, Matt Ellis, Raw Sugar hosted by Tug Dumbly


*    Visit the AMWU

*   View entire issue - print all of the articles!

*   Issue 118 contents

In this issue
*  Interview: Flying High
ACTU Secretary Greg Combet on saving Ansett jobs, defeating Howard and wooing a new generation of unionists.
*  Corporate: Howard's List of Shame
ACTU President Shaharn Burrow runs through the litany of corporate collapses and down-sizes that have cut a swathe through the Australian community.
*  Campaign Diary: Week Four: The Battle Lines Drawn
It was a week that saw the leaders launch their campaigns, kiss lots of babies and battle for space with a Holy Jihad.
*  Industrial: Desperately Seeking Solutions
They might not call it 'industrial relations' in the spin of modern politics, but all the major parties have released plans that will affect the way we work over the next three years.
*  Economics: Manufacturing Prosperity
Neale Towart looks at the hidden debate of the election campaign - the degree of intervention government should take through Industry Policy.
*  History: War And Politics
The Conservatives are trying to wage war and win the election. The pundits say itís a tried and true recipe for electoral success. The 1940 federal poll suggests otherwise.
*  International: Globalising Labour
On the eve of the International Metalworkers Federation Congress general secretary Marcello Malentacchi argues all nations need to retain a manufacturing base.
*  Review: Security - Who Needs it?
What does it mean to be secure? Should we even need to ask? In his new book, Anthony Burke asks the tough questions.
*  Satire: Locksmith Promises "Greater Security" If Elected
A Melbourne locksmith has agreed to run for federal parliament, campaigning on the key issue of security.

»  Workplace Blitz in Poll Lead-Up
»  Abbott Under Pressure to Hold Seat
»  Howard Double Dip Is Skyway Robbery
»  Knowledge Nation Boosts IT Skills
»  Stellar Win in Call Centre
»  Unionists Barred Entry to Australia
»  Shier's Famous Last Wordds
»  Real Baby Bonus for Local Government
»  Entire Town Joins Nurses' Strike
»  Some Good News in Orange Squeeze
»  Train Drivers Call for Level Crossing Action
»  Posties See Wage Rise By Christmas
»  Howard Fails To Stem Workplace Deaths
»  Greenpeace Activist Gets Union Support
»  Hotel Workers Name Their Odds
»  Airport Screeners Strike Over Work Value
»  East Timor Training Centre Copmpleted
»  NSW IR Act Due for Five Year Review
»  Organiser of the Year Nominations Open
»  Activists Notebook
»  STOP PRESS: Jakarta Shangri-La Hotel Workers Fined US$2 million

»  The Soapbox
»  The Locker Room
»  Trades Hall
»  Tool Shed

Letters to the editor
»  More on Orwell
»  The Ostrich Approach

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