||Issue No. 147||09 August 2002|
A Call to Action
Interview: Save Our Souls
Unions: Rats With Wings
Bad Boss: If The Boot Fits
History: Political Bower Birds
International: No More Business as Usual
Corporate: The Seven Deadly Sins of Capitalism
Review: Prepare To Bend
Satire: Bush Boosts Sharemarket Confidence: Shares his Cocaine Stash
The Locker Room
Week in Review
No More Business as Usual
ICFTU General Secretary Guy Ryder has offered his organisation's full support to AFL-CIO actions to put an end to corporate corruption and false accounting.
Ryder pointed to the lack of strong and cohesive global rules on company behaviour as a major factor in the stagnant world economy.
"Big companies have been taking advantage of lax regulation for too long all over the world" he said, adding that "the AFL-CIO campaign is mirrored by union actions across the globe. As even more companies guilty of corporate greed hit the wall, the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people are under threat, and the position of responsible companies is undermined".
The United States trade unions have launched a major intensification of their campaign for corporate accountability and transparency, as fraudulent dealings are exposed at even more large US companies.
Following successful legal action by the AFL-CIO to win compensation for thousands of workers who fell victim to the Enron scandal, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney has announced a raft of union actions around the country get effective regulation and to hold companies and their directors accountable for their actions.
"When corporate criminals invade our workplaces and our markets to steal our jobs and our savings, we must react every bit as decisively as when thieves enter our homes and try to bring harm to our loved ones", Sweeney said.
The scandals at Enron, WorldCom and Arthur Andersen alone have cost over 28,000 workers their jobs, with thousands of additional jobs lost or at risk and huge numbers of US workers deprived of their hard-earned retirement incomes and essential benefits such as health care.
The AFL-CIO is targeting individual corporations one by one to work for reform, while pressing for strong legislation to stop future corporate rip-offs. Sweeney has said that the more than US$ 5 trillion in US union pension funds will be used to put pressure on companies to behave responsibly, and the unions will run high-profile campaigns such as the successful action to stop Connecticut-based Stanley Works moving its headquarters to Bermuda to avoid existing US legal and taxation obligations.
"Governments now have no choice but to heed our calls for an end to fast and loose corporate behaviour, if the confidence of working people and responsible investors is to be restored," said Ryder, adding that "the global economic and finance institutions need to do more than just talk about the problem.
Along with effective global regulation, the IMF and the World Bank must stop insisting that developing countries privatize necessary public services, many of which have been sold off at rock bottom prices, sometimes to the very same global corporations that have collapsed due to the criminal behaviour of a few company bosses.
It is often precisely these companies which exploit and victimize their employees, denying basic rights which are set out in international law but are not properly enforced".
The ICFTU and its Global Unions partners have been pressing for comprehensive action for corporate transparency and effective regulation at a range of global and regional agencies, as part of their campaign action to transform globalisation to the benefit of people rather than profit.
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